On April 14, Carson Eggland, Executive Director had the opportunity to meet with Senator Joni Ernst in Des Moines. Our Domestic Abuse Resource Center program and select programs around the state working against sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking were invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Senator Ernst and the Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Earlier in April, Iowa Public Radion reported that in the last year Iowa saw its highest level of domestic violence fatalities in a decade.
The main reason for the meeting was a celebration of the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a bipartisan bill on which Senator Ernst spent the last three years leading. All in attendance thanked Senator Ernst for her leadership with the VAWA reauthorization while also stressing the need to ensure resources are accessible for all people across Iowa. Touching on the needs unique to rural Iowa that contribute to struggles that survivors face in Northeast Iowa:
- The stigma of reaching out for services in small towns.
- Realities of having to travel far distances to provide services.
- Lack of affordable housing, legal representation, and culturally specific resources.
We are grateful to Senator Ernst for taking the time and listening to concerns from around the state while celebrating the reauthorization of this bill. We are honored that the Domestic Abuse Resource Center team was invited to this roundtable and were able to highlight the important work our advocates provide across northeast Iowa.
Trained Domestic Abuse Resource Center advocates are available 24/7 and at no cost, please call the Resource Line at 1-800-383-2988 or visit helpingservices.org/chat.