DOMESTIC ABUSE: State Programs Overhauled

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The Iowa Attorney General’s office is rolling out a plan that it believes will better treat victims of rape and domestic abuse. The main reason behind the change is budget cuts.

According to the Attorney General’s office in the past two years, federal funding for the state’s domestic violence and sexual assault programs has been cut by more than $1 million.

The goal of the new plan is to streamline services allowing more victims to be helped with less funding. One part of the plan also emphasizes permanent housing instead of long-term staffed shelters. The plan also calls to close shelters and regionalize the services.

The plan also calls for the state to be divided into six regions, meaning some victims may have  to travel hundreds of miles for treatment.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says each region is expected to have one to two domestic violence programs, one to two sexual assault services, and one to two emergency shelters.

State statistics show that fewer victims are actually using the shelters, only around 11 percent and well over half of the victims seek other outreach options.

With the new plan, regions will be award grant money based on performance and in a competitive manner.

Thanks to sister station WQAD for this story.