Funding for domestic abuse services cut in Iowa

Iowa could see some changes in the way services are provided to victims of domestic violence and abuse.

The changes are due to a cut in funding at both the state and federal level and that means some changes for the Tri State Coalition in Keokuk.

Sue Prochazka has been the director of the Tri State Coalition in Keokuk since 1996.

She has seen a lot during her tenure and now she said she's seeing something that isn't going to be a complete benefit to victims of domestic violence.

It's a reorganization plan being laid out by the State of Iowa and under the plan it would see some changes in the way services are provided.

"It does concern us and we're working hard as a region to make sure that we do offer some sort of sheltering. It's going to have to look different. But the state is only going to fund one or two shelters per region, so most likely for us the closet shelters will be either in Burlington or Iowa City," Prochazka said.

For Lee County Iowa Sheriff Jim Sholl, he will admit he doesn't like the idea of closing some shelters. Sholl said under Iowa law, when a police officer is called to a case of domestic violence, the officer either has to stay at the scene or help assist the victim in leaving the residence. He thinks there all still too many questions that have to be answered.

"And now it seems like we're taking a step backward, lets so everything possible to protect these victims and possibly the children in a relationship, but now we remove a safe haven or put it at an incredible distance for these victims to travel to," Sholl said.

The Tri State Coalition said they served about 15 hundred people through their outreach programs and had about 75 women who took advantage of their shelter service during the last fiscal year.

And Prochazka said they had over 1000 calls to their hotline. She also said that she wants to stress that the Tri State Coalition will still be able to serve the women once the reorganization plan is finalized.

The transition year for the changeover that is being talked about is set to begin July 1, 2013.

From now until then, there could be some changes and modifications in what has been proposed.