Commissioner Anaya’s Amendment to the Cook County Budget Increasing Allocations to Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence Passes Unanimously

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

The Cook County Board unanimously voted to approve Commissioner Alma Anaya’s budget amendment which will increase services for survivors of domestic violence. The Commissioner has made this issue a top priority, initiating discussions for several months with multiple County offices, as well as with legal partners, nonprofits, and advocacy groups, to understand how to improve County services for survivors. The FY2020 Budget Amendment entitled “Pilot Program to Create a Survivor-Centered Resource at 555 W. Harrison” arouse from these conversations. Commissioner Anaya seeks to increase allocations to the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Division of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office through this amendment with services which may include:

● Survivor witness specialists, as needed;

● Creation of safety plans;

● Facilitation of access to orders of protections and resources; and/or

● Data collection to better inform work with survivors and to provide more victim-centered and trauma informed care.

Each year, for the past three years, Cook County courts charged an average of 9,224 individuals with domestic battery. The State’s Attorney’s Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Division responds to a caseload of approximately 450 cases per week that include both felony and misdemeanor charges. The Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Division under the State’s Attorney’s Office currently lacks resource specialists for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. Trained survivor-witness specialists are critical to the work of attorneys in domestic violence cases.

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