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Proposed budget leaves domestic violence centers in cold

Local assemblyman says centers should be supported by government

Posted: January 31, 2010 10:39 p.m.
Updated: February 1, 2010 4:55 a.m.

As the governor's proposed budget makes its way through the Legislature with no funding for domestic violence services, the Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley is sitting tight in a small office space in Valencia.

The already cash-strapped center faces cuts next year that could decimate its ability to serve battered women and children, said Nicole Shellcroft, its executive director.

At 700 square feet for a $500 monthly rent, the new space is less than half the size and a quarter of the cost of its Newhall facility.

The center provides therapy and other services for domestic violence victims, and operates a four-bedroom shelter at a secret location.

The center moved to the Valencia Industrial Center on Avenue Stanford in October after state budget cuts priced them out of the old one, where staff helped walk-ins daily.

Now, the center gets one or two walk-ins a month, Shellcroft said. Signs listing the its hotline are still posted at the old location, so calls have increased, Shellcroft said.

The center's annual budget was cut last year from $450,000 to $305,000.

The bulk of that is $156,000 in one-time money secured through legislation co-authored by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita.

Smyth said he is again ready to go to bat to secure funding for the facility, which is the only one of its kind in the Santa Clarita Valley.

"I believe supporting domestic violence shelters is something that should have government support. It certainly warrants a place in the budget," he said.

Even while the state budget so far dedicates no money to domestic violence services, such violence is on the rise and research suggests it is because of the down economy, Shellcroft said.

She noted four domestic violence related deaths in the Santa Clarita Valley last year.

The area's first apparent domestic violence death of 2010 was Jan. 14, when a Canyon Country woman was fatally shot. Her husband was charged in the crime.


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