INDIANAPOLIS - Victims of domestic violence face a future more uncertain than most, as funding for the Violence Against Women Act is tied up in the debate over the fiscal cliff.
Congress must periodically vote to reauthorize the act, and if they can't reach agreement on the fiscal cliff issue, much of the money that helps domestic violence victims get back on their feet will be gone.
Coburn Place is the only long-term shelter in Indianapolis, helping as many as 50 families escape domestic violence each year.
Ten percent of its budget comes from the Violence Against Women's Act and funds a number of programs and staff services.
"These advocates are providing day-to-day support for our families, helping our adult clients to help them get back on their feet, to obtain permanent housing, to find work and to get financial literacy resources," said Julia Kathary, executive director of Coburn Place.
According to the American Medical Association, women face greater dangers inside the home than they do on the street.
The Violence Against Women Act funds $5.5 million statewide and nearly $750,000 in Indianapolis annually.
"They help law enforcement and prosecutor's offices, they fund special prosecution units to help curtail violence, help reduce homicides with the community and really important to provide the safety and resources for women and children," said Laura Berry, with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The Violence Against Women Act provides $100,000 annually for Coburn Place. Losing support for long-term assistance to victims would have a substantial impact on the shelter and its clients.
"If we lost this type of funding and transitional units in Indianapolis, it would be very devastating and very dangerous for families impacted by domestic violence," Kathary said.
To learn more about Coburn Place, click here.