In the last legislative session, Maine’s first increase in funding for sexual assault and domestic violence service providers in more than two decades was approved. However, those funds (referred to as Funds for Healthy Maine or FHM) were only appropriated for two years. This June, that FHM funding will run out, and our state’s prevention and victim advocacy services will see a $5 million deficit. LD 888: An Act to Ensure Ongoing Services for Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence would ensure continued, vital funding for domestic and sexual violence services across the state.
In the Midcoast, we received $140,000—more than 15% of our annual budget—from FHM. This funding has allowed us to enhance the organizational planning and staffing of our prevention education team. As a result, our school-based prevention education participation has increased by 344% and our community-based prevention education participation has increased by 444%. That means over 5,000 school-aged children (and even more community members) have been able to learn about ways we, as individuals and a community, can work together to end interpersonal violence in Maine.
Right now, one third of our staff members are partially or fully funded by FHM. Without funding to maintain our current team, our ability to provide prevention education and victim advocacy services in our Midcoast communities—especially services targeted towards youth—will be severely and directly impacted… just as we anticipate an increase in service needs as we come out of isolation from the pandemic. LD 888 would help to prevent gaps in prevention and response services across the state and right here in the Midcoast.
How can you help? We’re looking for supporters who are willing to give oral or written testimony in support of LD 888. That includes anyone impacted by sexual or domestic violence:
See the PDF below for information about the bill, testimony needs/requirements, and a template for your submission. All testimony will be published online with the submitter’s name and town of residence (or the name of the organization you are representing). All testimony must be submitted no later than noon (12pm EST) on March 29 in order to be reviewed for the hearing on March 30. Testimony can be submitted through the Maine Coalition to End Sexual Violence or through the form below. Please email us if you have any questions.
We appreciate your time and consideration. We can’t do this without you!