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City to Merge Office of Domestic Violence?

By Kevin Robinson in News on Apr 28, 2008 1:00PM

Battered women's activists, already facing cuts in federal funding to domestic-violence services, are opposing a Daley-backed plan to consolidate the city's Office of Domestic Violence into an enlarged Human Services Department. Daley wants to fold social services, prisoner re-entry and homeless assistance programs into a single city department, arguing last week that there is "considerable overlap" among social service programs. "This consolidation will help the city provide a more holistic, client-centered approach to the services we provide to our most vulnerable residents," he told the Sun Times.

Domestic violence homicides doubled in the last year - from 21 is 2006 to 42 in 2007—and women's advocates fear the proposal will result in reduced resources. "We have recently seen some key cases in which victims have taken pro-active steps -- like seeking orders of protection and informing others they felt threatened -- and they end up dead. We need to make sure we're not stepping back in any way from our full commitment to address these needs," said Leslie Landis, director of the mayor's Office of Domestic Violence. And just last week police issued an Amber Alert after Sofia Garcia was found dead in her Humboldt Park home and her three children went missing.