Services and shelters could come to domestic violence victims with help of Pima County
Web Producer: Piper Stoeckel
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - More services and shelters could be coming to domestic violence victims with the help of Pima County.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to give $101,130 to Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse.
Kim Thompson, Vice President of Philanthropy, said this year the non-profit lost $250,000 out of a total $4.4 million budget.
Board Member Richard Elías said this is an emergency request for the center because of the loss they took from state grants and federal money.
Emerge! is the largest domestic abuse shelter in Southern Arizona and brings education, support and intervention to victims. Every year the center serves more than 2,885 women and children and answers 10,000 emergency calls.
“I would like to see Emerge! find its’ footing and become sustainable into the future. And I would like for us all to step up to the plate,” Elías said.
Every year, almost half of the victims who go through the shelters are children said Elías and, “it’s a scar they carry with them forever.”
“They are scars that we can’t make go away but Pima County has every intention of making it possible for these shelters to continue to operate in the manor they are,” Elías said.
University Medical Center Trauma Surgeon, Bellal Joseph, attended the meeting to speak about the severity of domestic violence. He sees one to two severe incidents every day.
“Cases of domestic violence are not uncommon and by the time people come to the trauma center it is too late,” Joseph said.
Last week Joseph performed multiple operations on a 16 year-old who spent a week in the hospital for domestic violence related injuries. Within the past month there have even been deaths.
Joseph said the domestic violence center reaches out to those who have already been injured and brings prevention knowledge to the community.
“A big part of trauma and emergency care is prevention...people need the resources,” Joseph said.
He said Arizona ranks 2nd in the nation for domestic violence, and according to the U.S Department of Justice every year 4.5 million women in the U.S. are physically assaulted by their intimate partner.
With the high demand for shelters in Tucson, and short budget, Emerge! cannot provide care to everyone in need, said Thompson.
“We have to find alternative places for woman and children while they wait,” Thompson said.
Last year 177 woman and children were turned away from the shelter including the 20 percent that were not eligible.
If the county didn’t approve the allocated funds, Thompson said the center would have to re-work the budget. This would put the center in danger of closing.
Elías said the board understands the situation at hand and will work with Emerge! to avoid future funding requests.
“We have to cover the ground and make sure that the issue of relationship violence is understood and dealt with in a meaningful manner,” Elías said.