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Groups Come Together To Fight Domestic Violence

October 23, 2012, 6:07 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Groups Come Together To Fight Domestic Violence

South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson joined forces with those fighting to end domestic violence on Tuesday.

It's usually hidden, until someone steps up, likely to a person deals with family violence.

"Domestic violence affects every family in some way in South Dakota," domestic violence victim advocate Krista Heeren-Graber said.

Crisis Centers, counselors and law enforcement officials sat down with Johnson to talk about the Violence Against Women Act. Washington policy makers are still ironing out the details to reauthorize the nearly two decade old bill that helped victims of domestic violence gain access to needed services. It's passage is critical.

"For law enforcement intervention, for prosecution, for our shelters, crisis centers. Every time we lose funding, we lost staff. That affects how we help victims and make a change," Heeren-Graber said.

"Well, you just worry about your funding sources. And of course, we all rely heavily on federal grants, local grants, all of that. And you worry, how will all of this be impacted? I think it's unknown at this point," Amy Carter with Children's Inn said.

Johnson asked questions about the specific needs and impacts in Sioux Falls and across South Dakota. The answers are in this room. These groups frequently collaborate

"It's just critical in making any sort of dent in this issue of domestic violence," Carter said.

And while funding takes top priority, the real issue here is breaking a violent cycle so many families feel forced to live in.

The violence Against Women Act was first passed 18 years ago. The U.S. Attorney General's Office has asked Congress to come together to reauthorize the law and even expand certain provisions.

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