DV Center Closes – Services shifted to regional model

Although Marshalltown’s (Iowa) Domestic Violence Alternatives and Sexual Assault Center will close as part of a statewide regionalization of crime victim services, its executive director said it’s not abandoning anyone.

Dotti Thompson, executive director at DVA/SAC, said her 10 full and part-time staff will do all they can to ensure the transition to regional service is as smooth as possible. When she first heard of the switch, she said she could picture the faces of those who would be affected.

“I want to make sure no one feels there will not be services,” Thompson said.

For the past 30 years, the center has provided advocacy services to victims of sexual and domestic assault in Marshall, Jasper, Tama and Poweshiek counties. In its previous fiscal year, DVA/SAC helped 562 clients with 3,934 instances of domestic abuse and sexual assault in Marshall County, and the center projected it would provide those services to 620 people in its current fiscal year.

According to a DVA/SAC press release, the Iowa Legislature has severely underfunded the center for several years, and as of July 1, the center’s state funding will expire because of its inability to secure the necessary money to keep operations afloat.

Last year, the Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office announced a plan to break down service areas into districts. Services for Marshall and Tama counties will shift to ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support) in Ames, which serves Boone, Greene and Story counties.

“I just don’t think anyone knows what the full ramifications are on this,” Thompson said. “Those in the Iowa Legislature have not put priority on meeting the needs of domestic assault and sexual assault violence victims.”

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