After hearing painful personal testimonies from survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault at four public hearings, members of the Metropolitan King County Council’s Budget Leadership Team announced they have reprioritized funds in their 2010 budget proposal to fully restore programs that prevent violence against women and families with children at 2009 levels. “Every year we are reminded of the vital role public input has on our budget process,” said Council Budget Chair Larry Gossett. “These are programs that literally save lives—we could not let them end.” Councilmember Julia Patterson said, “Women’s homes and lives are in crisis more than ever before and we cannot stand by and watch more of our family, our friends, and our neighbors become victims of violence.” The Councilmembers said the revised county budget will restore nearly $1.4 million in dedicated and general funds for programs for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault, and for legal aid programs that help survivors obtain restraining orders and navigate the judicial system. “Thanks to this action, funding will keep hotlines staffed, emergency shelters open, and enable support groups to continue,” said Merril Cousin, executive director of the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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