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Anti-sexual violence groups feel the ‘pinch’ as government shutdown approaches 2 weeks

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Republicans and Democrats remain at an impasse over the border, spending and the partial government shutdown for almost two weeks.

As the partial government shutdown continues – President and the Trump and the Democrats seemingly has come to a standstill over the funding of a wall – organizations dedicated to helping survivors of sexual violence are beginning to make.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), concluded in 1994, provides a range of services and grants to organizations that provide assistance to victims of domestic and sexual abuse, including those based in rural or tribal areas. The law was not extended when a part of the government shuttered on Dec. 22 absent a of the financing of the deal.

Overall, more than $7 billion in the form of grants have been awarded since VAWA was enacted, according to McClatchy.

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Some of the organizations that depend on that grant money could begin to struggle to continue to provide help and assistance without the ability to access funds. And the Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response Center (STAR) – which provides advice, legal and advocacy services in Louisiana – is already beginning to “feel the pinch.”

STAR to be able to serve approximately 1,100 clients last year, partially, if more than 50 percent of the annual budget comes from federal grants, including those allocated by VAWA, Racheal Hebert, the group’s non-profit, told Fox News.

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With the government shut down, STAR and is not able to get reimbursed for the money they’ve already spent with the grants that have already been assigned, Hebert explained. Fortunately, the group has other sources of funding – from donors and local government contracts, but that cash flow will not last forever.

“Apart from the real consequences of the financial burden, it is also an emotional burden for people who do the work – feel concerned that there might not be a future of services on the level we’ve been providing,” Hebert said, adding the uncertainty has left people feeling “the government is not a priority of the provision of services to domestic violence and sexual assault victims.”

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Neusa Gaytan, senior vice president of programs for Mujeres Latinas en Accion, also highlighted the urgent need for the availability of the financing of the partial shutdown continues.

“How many small organizations can survive a delay in payment? This is very harmful for a lot of people who provide services,” Gaytan told the Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago-based Mujeres Latinas en Accion provides multiple services, including providing advice and advocacy services for victims of domestic or sexual violence. It received about $300,000 of grant money in 2018, according to the Ministry of Justice.

There are approximately 321,500 victims of rape and sexual abuse that is at least 12 years each year in the U.S., according to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organizations.

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