Domestic Violence Calls on the Rise in California, but Funding to Fight it Stays the Same

SACRAMENTO -- Emergency calls involving domestic abuse in California are on the rise, but the funding to help combat the issue hasn't changed in over a decade.

Survivors of domestic violence and advocates gathered at the State Capitol on Thursday for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.

None of them wanted to be there, but the truth is they have to rally to eradicate domestic violence.

"I returned back to my abuser several times," survivor Chivas Mays said. "I had to, because he was the bread-winner."

Mays' story is heartbreaking, but she says it's not unique.

She now works at Stand Up Placer, helping other survivors of domestic abuse find housing. Mays says the problem is the number of crisis calls continues to increase each year -- but government resources have stayed the same.

"For the last 10 years, we've had about $20 million in state general funds going to domestic violence programs, and we're asking the Legislature and the governor to double that," California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Executive Director Kathy Moore said.

Thursday's rally came at a poignant time. Just last week, West Sacramento Police say two girls were killed by their father.

"Their lives were taken from them on New Year's Eve in what police are calling a murder-suicide involving their father," Moore said. "The girls' mother reported abuse throughout their relationship. So today, we take a moment to mourn these and all tragedies caused by domestic violence."

Additional funding would go toward services beyond emergency responses -- including permanent housing, culturally specific services, research and mental health programs for the abusers. Many legislators have already pledged their support.

Finding an extra $20 million isn't easy, but advocates and survivors say it's the only path to freedom.

"I'm asking you to help us get this budget changed, and increased, so we can really save lives. But not only save lives, but keep them safe," Chivas said.