Sakhi Executive Director Purvi Shah addressed a budget hearing in the borough of Queens on Feb. 18th to request government funding to help sustain Sakhi’s work through tough economic times made more pressing by our record call volume (731 new requests for support last year).
Purvi began her statement to the Queens Borough President, the Borough Delegation, City Council members, and Community Board Chairs by acknowledging the prevailing economic climate.
She nonetheless pointed to the seriousness of domestic violence and the paramount importance of assisting survivors and preventing further abuse. Highlighting a 2008 census (in which Sakhi participated) conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, she noted that 60,799 people were served nationwide in one day—but 8,927 additional requests for services by survivors went unmet, and that 10.5% of the unmet requests came from New York State.
“We all know resources are shrinking,” Purvi said, “but as responsible leaders we must face the grim fact that services to respond to domestic violence have been severely under-funded.”
Despite a lack of resources, Sakhi proved it is at the cutting edge of ending violence against women, Purvi commented.
She also highlighted specific data illustrating the scale of Sakhi’s work: “Through the NNEDV census report, we know on that one day count only 23% of DV agencies performed translation or interpretation services; 25% enabled financial skills & budgeting; 34% advocacy related to mental health; 43% advocacy related to housing issues; and 49% advocacy related to public benefits. On September 17, 2008, the day of the NNEDV count, we at Sakhi served 25 survivors with a host of services including conducting translation with 11; financial & budgeting assistance for 2; mental health advocacy for 2; advocacy related to housing for 3; and public benefits support for 5 survivors. These data demonstrate that Sakhi is at the cutting edge of domestic violence services provision locally and nationally through our model of integrated services delivery for a vulnerable constituency in need. If we seek to reduce rather than increase the count of unmet services, along with other vital services and agencies, we must invest in Sakhi’s community-based work to end violence.”
Purvi highlighted Sakhi’s work in not only providing core direct services, but also in conducting awareness-raising presentations for community members
As Purvi told hearing attendees, “It is necessary to provide direct services for survivors of violence. But it is not enough.” She referred to the statistics made available in the 2007 Independent Budget Office report that show less than 1% of city funding going toward prevention and long-term services, respectively.
“The data show us that not only do we need to do more but we need to enable a wider range of integrated and long-term programs to end violence,” she said.
- Read Purvi’s testimony