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Sequester cuts to domestic violence programs leave victims stranded

After failing to act on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act for more than a year, Congressional dysfunction has once again left victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to fend for themselves.

Funding for sexual assault and domestic violence programs was already limited due to previous cuts in state and federal budgets, but the sequester's automatic spending cuts have issued a serious blow to vital service providers, according to a report from Mother Jones' Tim Murphy:

[T]he Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women sent an email to the hundreds of non-profits and government agencies around the country that rely on its annual grants. The message was grim: Due to cuts mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, better known as sequestration, programs that fight domestic violence and sexual assault would see a $20 million drop in funding over the next year...

The projections are bleak. Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) office estimates that 70,120 fewer domestic violence victims will have access to recovery programs and shelters; 35,900 fewer people will get help obtaining non-shelter services such as restraining orders and sexual assault treatment. Cuts to programs related to the Victims Against Crime Act will hurt another 310,574 people.

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