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Published March 21, 2012, 10:24 PM

At CVIC in Grand Forks, Heitkamp Vows Support for Violence Against Women Act

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The Federal Violence Against Women Act expires this year and needs to be reauthorized by congress. Grand Forks community leaders joined democratic Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp at a round table discussion on Wednesday to talk about the importance of the act.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The Federal Violence Against Women Act expires this year and needs to be reauthorized by congress. Grand Forks community leaders joined democratic Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp at a round table discussion on Wednesday to talk about the importance of the act.

Violence against women roots back to Heidi Heitkamp's days as attorney general. This is the exact issue that got her to run in the first place and she says she'll fight until the very end to get Congress to reauthorize the act.

"I think you all know, I'll fight for this money until my last breath," Heitkamp said.

Funding is the key issue for the Community Violence Intervention Center here in Grand Forks.

"Extremely tight budget," CVIC Executive Director Kristi Hall-Jiran said.

The budget made up mostly of grants and private foundations leaves CVIC wondering if one day it'll have to close its doors on programs that help women escape violent situations.

"While we're really excited about the strives we've made in Grand Forks over the years, if we don't continue to receive the Violence Against Women Act funds we're really concerned about that progress being really short-changed," Hall-Jiran said.

"Do everything we can to get that act, authorized this year. We can't wait until I'm elected to the Senate," Heitkamp said.

Heitkamp believes if other places around the nation are made aware of successful programs in Grand Forks it could give the Violence Against Women Act as well as the programs here in town the boost it needs.

"Modeling something like this here, will catch fire if it works," Heitkamp said.

"We actually know how to prevent domestic violence and how to intervene successfully we just need the resources to fully carry it out," Hall-Jiran said.

Community leaders as well as Heitkamp hope the act which was first authorized in 1994 will find its way back to the drawing tables and continue to do what it was made to do: protect women.

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