Glow sticks lit up Tuesday evening in Overton Park in Midtown Memphis as domestic violence advocates called for more awareness about the crime.
The Shine the light, Stand Up to Domestic Violence Community Rally showcased local organizations dedicated to helping victims. The organizations are keeping a close eye on the government shutdown in Washington, D.C.
READ: TBI Domestic Violence Report 2010-2012
Many of these agencies receive some type of money, usually grants, from Washington, D.C., funneled through Nashville. For the moment their budgets are not in jeopardy but it could change if the Congressional budget stalemate lingers. The agencies affected vary from shelters to the county crisis center.
MORE: Domestic violence report misleading says Memphis group
All of the area agencies were on hand at Levitt Shell to promote the services they offer.
Federal money helps them to reach more victims as these agencies are starting to apply for more federal dollars for the next year. The agencies are concerned their applications will get tabled as non-essential government employees that have been furloughed won't be able to review their request.
If the shutdown lasts for weeks and months they may have to cut down on their expenses, which would strain the quality of service provided.
"Most of us who are federally funded, that funding is committed to us and that funding safe for the time being," said Dottie Jones, of the Memphis-Shelby County Domestic and Sexual Violence Council. "The longer the government shuts down, the more in danger we are of losing those services long term.
"It means we may not be there if a woman is harmed to help her, help her get out of that situation."
By protracted Jones means the government shutdown would have to last for months, a scenario the public would not tolerate.
This rally also comes almost one week after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a three-year report of domestic violence cases that are on the decline statewide, a figure that many advocates say might be caused by fewer victims turning to the services offered Tuesday evening at the rally.
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