Sequestration Impact: Women's trauma services on the chopping bl - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Sequestration Impact: Women's trauma services on the chopping block

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Congress and the President have until Friday to come up with a solution to the sequester. Congress and the President have until Friday to come up with a solution to the sequester.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As President Barack Obama met with governors from around the country today to talk about the ongoing sequestration battle, we are continuing to dig and discover what these cuts will do in South Carolina.

If no action is taken by Friday, $85 billion in automatic spending cuts will kick in. Part of those cuts could impact victims of violent crime and sexual assaults.

Of the 14 people on staff at Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, more than half are federally funded. Their salaries provided by either the victims of Crime Act or Violence Against Women Act. Both are on the sequestration chopping block.

"We're talking about people, said Ginny Waller, the executive director of Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. "That's what's on the line."

Waller's program is just one of 22 others across the state.

"Every single year, even when we're fully funded, we still have trouble meeting the needs of our community," said Waller.

It's still too early to tell just how bad things would get if no Congressional action is taken, eight of Waller's employees could be affected. Those employees do everything from crisis intervention, counseling, to handing out new clothes to women who wake up in the hospital with nothing to wear.

"It's the essential services of our agency," said Waller. "It's why we were created: to provide that support to victims and survivors in our state. It's the very essence of it."

Monday morning brought another tragic example of the state's problem with domestic violence when Richland County deputies say 35-year-old Tabitha Priester was fatally shot in the head by her boyfriend. It's an ongoing struggle Waller hopes she'll be able to meet fully staffed.

"I don't like to give doomsday predictions because I feel like we're going to do everything in our power to make sure victims are served no matter what happens, it just may not look like it does right now, and it may not be the best services we can provide," said Waller.

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