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Amberly’s Place is facing a $225,000 funding cut for the upcoming year.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed court cases, resulting in fewer penalties deposited into the Victims of Crime Act fund, the largest funding source for the Yuma County family advocacy center.
VOCA funds do not come from taxpayers’ dollars. Rather, they are funded with criminal fines, penalties, forfeited bail bonds and special assessments collected by the federal government.
The VOCA fund has historically been the largest and most stable funding source for Amberly’s Place, noted Tori Bourguignon, executive director.
The family advocacy center provides services to primary and secondary victims of child abuse in Yuma County and parts of Imperial County. Secondary victims are those who witness and/or are directly impacted by the abuse of the primary victim.
VOCA covers about 85% of the center’s crisis response victim advocate salaries and employee-related expenses, a portion of overhead and extended services such as victim therapy.
“Historically, we would be gearing up to write for a new three-year grant. However, we have been informed by our grant administrators that under these circumstances, there is no possibility at this time of a three-year renewal,” Bourguignon said.
Instead, this next cycle will strictly be a one-year renewal at 45-50% of the center’s current annual VOCA funding.
This means Amberly’s Place is facing a $225,000 shortfall in the coming year, and the future of VOCA funding is unknown.
“We are currently working with our board of directors and exploring other grants and collaborative partnerships to offset these cuts, but at this point, no new grant funding has been secured,” Bourguignon said.
She noted that many advocacy centers, victim service providers, shelters and other entities who work with crime victims depend on VOCA funding
“These services provide critical support for crime victims and families in their time of need,” Bourguignon said.
One way the public can help immediately is to support Jersey Mike’s Annual Giving campaign. On March 29, the entire day of sales will go to Amberly’s Place.
“Jersey Mike’s annually selects a local nonprofit, and this year, they choose to support Amberly’s Place. Please consider lunch or dinner from Jersey Mike’s on March 29,” Bourguignon said.
She also expressed appreciation for the support that the community has already shown. For example, the annual Amberly’s Place Gala held Jan. 27 had a “fantastic turnout. We sincerely appreciate the support of each of our sponsors and all who attended this event,” she said.
“This support is needed now more than ever,” she added.
For April, which is both Child Abuse Awareness and Sexual Assault Awareness month, the center has a number of activities scheduled, including proclamations and pinwheel gardens at several schools, municipal buildings and local businesses throughout the county.
Bourguignon asked for the community’s continued support of the work the center does “to ensure that all victims receive the services they need to go from victim to survivor and ultimately to thriver.”
Amberly’s Place provided services to 240 victims in January and 188 victims in February. For detailed information, see the accompanying information
To talk to a crisis advocate, call the 24-hour helpline: 928-373-0849. For more information on spotting the signs of abuse, go to www.AmberlysPlace.com.
ABUSE STATISTICS FOR
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY
Primary victims: 103, 99
Secondary victims: 137, 89
TOTAL: 240, 188
Yuma Police: 65, 43
Yuma County Sheriff’s Office: 49, 34
Somerton Police: 22, 18
San Luis Police: 17, 23
Wellton Police: 3, 1
Cocopah Police: 6,
Other agencies: 3, 1
Walk-ins: 43, 41
By phone: 32, 27
Adult sexual assault: 6, 4
Secondary victims: 6, 3
Child physical abuse/neglect: 4, 7
Secondary victims: 7, 2
Child sexual abuse/assault: 18, 14
Secondary victims: 47, 32
Domestic violence: 72, 73
Secondary victims: 76, 52
Elder abuse: 1, 1
Secondary victims: 1, 0
Human sex trafficking: 1, 0
Multi-disciplinary team assists: 1, 0
Number of new victims: 224,188
Continued victims: 16, 0
Number of cases: 102, 99
Jane Doe cases: 0, 1
Medical exams: 6, 8
Forensic interviews: 20, 20
Female: 173, 151
Male: 67, 37
0-12: 89, 71
13-17: 33, 17
18-24: 12, 20
25-59: 93, 71
60+: 13, 9
Source: Amberly’s Place