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Womenspace Closes Walk-In Advocacy

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EUGENE, Ore. — Womenspace, a local nonprofit that helps domestic violence victims, cut a core service this month.

Financial woes forced it to close its walk-in advocacy program this year.

Staff members say domestic violence is a serious issue, but budget woes are making it more difficult to fight here in Lane County.

It’s estimated that about $17 million are needed to run just core programs for domestic violence service providers in the state of Oregon. They get less than half that.

Domestic violence is a real issue, evidenced by the wall inside Womenspace.

“For domestic violence awareness month in 2012, we decided to compile the information about the homicides in Oregon that were related to intimate partner violence,” said Christine Enking, Domestic Violence Coordinator.

There were 20 incidents involving 28 victims–women, children and men.

“It’s something that affects all of us and in one way or another. It’s going to come and touch all of us,” Enking said.

About 20 percent of people in Lane County will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Womenspace has been working to lower those numbers for more than 30 years, but the battle just got even tougher.

“Over the last several years, we’ve seen a slow erosion of funding for Womenspace, so we’ve seen a reduction in the funding we see from the county, federal and state agencies,” said Peggy Whalen, Executive Director.

This year, for Womespace, that meant having to close its walk-in advocacy service. People looking for help will now have to call the group’s 24-hour crisis line. Even though the program is closed, staff says there’s still hope.

“We are always looking for volunteers, and we do feel the way we will be able to reestablish this service is through our volunteer program,” Whalen said.

Staff members say while money definitely helps, the donations of time are invaluable when it comes to combating this problem.

The organization is also working on a year-long campaign of awareness, attempting to gather 70,000 pledges against domestic violence. Click here for more information.

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