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Police Chief Advocates For Abuse Shelter Funding

December 12, 2012, 6:03 PM by Derek Olson

Police Chief Advocates For Abuse Shelter Funding
RAPID CITY, SD -

A non-profit that helps domestic abuse and sexual violence victims in Rapid City could be getting some much needed help.

Working Against Violence Inc., or WAVI, provides victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse with services ranging from help with restraining orders to a safe place to stay.

"It's law enforcement that sends victims to WAVI, about 1,000 domestic violence victims a year," Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender said.

"We have a lot of people that we work with who don't report to law enforcement right away, either," WAVI's executive director Mary Corbine said.

The city of Rapid City gives $25,000 to the organization each year. But between the years 2005 and 2008 the payments weren't made, costing WAVI $100,000.

It's something that Allender asked the city to make right at Wednesday's legal and finance committee meeting.

"Over the course of a couple years they've been cheated, really, $100,000. I'm here to ask for that to go back to them today," Allender said.

Allender believes that the services provided by WAVI are well worth the city's investment, citing a study that shows if the program wasn't there it would cost the city nearly a half-million dollars per year.

"If WAVI or an organization like WAVI didn't exist, I could see the city spending up to $400,000 a year just to safeguard victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. And the alternative to that is to turn the victims loose and let them fend for themselves," Allender said.

With the organization facing a nearly $60,000 budget shortfall this year, the city money is badly needed.

"We are looking at the full picture of how we can continue to be here for years to come," Corbine said.

The city legal and finance committee approved the proposal at Wednesday's meeting.  The city council will vote on the back payment at their meeting next Monday.

In 2011, WAVI helped around 2,200 abuse victims, providing shelter for nearly 600.

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