Santa Clara County supervisors decided Tuesday to divert $600,000 from budget reserves to the countys only two rape crisis centers — part of a recent push to bolster local funding for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
The supervisors unanimously approved spending $503,000 for YWCA Silicon Valley in San Jose and $97,000 for Community Solutions in Gilroy, to expand 24-hour crisis response services such as counseling and accompanying survivors to medical exams and police interviews.
Supervisors also supported a proposal to replace $463,265 in federal funds for six Planned Parenthood clinics. The nonprofit announced in August it will stop accepting Title X federal funds because of a new Trump administration rule that forbids organizations receiving the money from referring patients to abortion providers.
In the last two fiscal years, the county has committed $11.1 million toward programs to address gender-based violence, according to county staff.
“A few years ago we were spending very little money on gender-based violence — less than a million dollars,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who has spearheaded the effort.
Tanis Crosby, executive director of YWCA Silicon Valley, said the county is stepping up to fund the rape crisis centers because the state, which kicked in a one-time $5 million for all centers last year, isnt doing so again this year.
Californias general fund contribution to all rape crisis centers in the state this year is just $45,000, Crosby said, adding that Illinois is putting up $8.2 million.
“This is an unfunded mandate for rape crisis centers and it is not tenable — the state needs to step up,” Crosby said. “Fortunately, our local leaders are.”
In addition to the $45,000, some of the $5 million in the California Office of Emergency Services budget can be used for victims of domestic and sexual violence, according to the state Department of Finance.
Countywide, reported rapes and sexual assaults have risen in recent years.
Crosby said the YWCA has seen a 40 percent increase in people seeking services over the past 18 months.
At Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, which does medical forensic exams for victims of sexual violence, the program has seen a 20 percent increase in exams the last two years, according to a county staff report. The program has seen a 35 percent increase in cases this year compared to the same time last year.
The number of reported rapes in San Jose alone over a decade has increased almost threefold, from 220 in 2008 to 615 last year, according to a city report analyzing FBI crime data. Its unclear whether that is due to increased sexual violence or more reporting.
The county is working on a long-term spending plan for rape crisis centers and other programs to address gender-based violence, including $1.2 million to $2 million for the rape crisis centers, Chavez said. Next year, the county will begin providing medical forensic exams to Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy.
Of the $11.1 million in county funds that have been committed, about $6.7 million still hasnt been spent, according to county staff.Read More – Source