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Arizona to replenish crime victims fund

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(The Center Square) — Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the allocation of $19 million in federal funding for the Victim of Crime Act’s Crime Victims Fund.

In a news release, the governor’s office said it’s intended to help public and private sector organizations such as “domestic violence shelters” and “child abuse programs.”

“As a social worker, I know how critical it is that we provide these essential services to crime victims,” Hobbs said in the release. “These funds will provide the continuation of essential resources, such as shelter, legal services, housing, and helplines that will be cut without additional support. I’m proud of the lifesaving work happening across the state to help crime victims and I’m glad the State of Arizona can support their important work.”

Specifically, the release pointed out how the funding will assist the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to Governor Hobbs for her unwavering support and commitment to Arizona’s victims of crime. Her decisive action in providing essential funding for services for over 250,000 victims of crime signifies a profound dedication to healing and justice,” Jenna Panas, CEO for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, said in the release.

“With this funding, vital programs for victims will remain open and operational, preventing a shutdown or reduction of essential services. The Governor has recognized the critical and essential nature of the services provided to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse and acted to ensure that vulnerable Arizonans did not pay the price. We are honored to join forces with the Governor in building a safer, more compassionate society for all,” Panas added.

According to the Daily Independent in April, the rates of domestic violence in Arizona have been increasing. In Maricopa County, the county attorney’s office estimates that “one or more children witness domestic violence” nearly every 44 minutes.

The release said that the funding stemmed from the American Rescue Plan Act, and it was intended to make up for some of the decrease in cash for the fund, as it has gone from $70.8 million in 2018 to just $31 million in 2022.

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