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Illinois Commits $0 Against Domestic Violence

Illinois State capitol building in the fog / rain
Amanda Vinicky
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Illinois enters its 22nd month without a real budget, the state services most affected by the political fight include those that help victims of domestic violence.

Illinois doesn’t spend a lot of money fighting domestic violence — it’s way less than a tenth of a percent of the state budget. But since last summer, it’s spent nothing.

Vickie Smith represents 62 providers across Illinois. She says some groups have laid people off; others are about to.

Smith says you can’t just put these kinds of services on hold, anymore than you would a fire department or emergency room.

“When people have to call us to come into shelter, they’re running for their lives, literally running for their lives," she says. "They’re calling us because they have no place else to go."

Domestic violence was left out of last summer’s so-called stopgap budget. Legislation to approve state spending on the programs has bipartisan support, and is advancing in the Illinois Senate.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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