Scott spokesperson calls vetoed rape crisis center funding ‘duplicative’
Gov. Rick Scott’s office is claiming that the funding he vetoed for rape crisis centers was “duplicative” and that “nobody was able to make it clear to [the governor] why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.”
As I reported yesterday, Scott vetoed $1.5 million for the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, an organization that was going to help distribute the money to 30 rape crisis centers around the state. The centers are facing impending reductions in collections, which currently makes up the bulk of their budgets.
According to another online publication, when asked why Scott vetoed the line-item, a spokesperson said he eliminated the money
because the state already funds sexual violence programs, and nobody was able to make it clear to him why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.
“Governor Scott approved funding for many projects that have statewide impact and do not duplicate programs already funded by the state,” Lane Wright, Scott’s press secretary, told HuffPost. “This new funding of $1.5 million would have been duplicative, since, as a state, we already fund sexual violence programs. There was no information suggesting any needs in this area weren’t already being met. The state already provides about $6.5 million for rape prevention and sexual assault services. That is in addition to the funds available for domestic violence programs — $29 million to be specific. Many victims of sexual violence seek refuge at domestic violence shelters.”
The Florida Independent reached out to the governor’s office yesterday, but have yet to hear back.
Jennifer Dritt, the executive director of the Council Against Sexual Violence, told the same publication that she gave the governor’s office “information about the number of new survivors [they] have and [she] showed them that these rape crisis centers have waiting lists.”
“Survivors are having to wait weeks, sometimes six weeks, in some programs three months to be seen,” she said. “We included quotes from the programs about the waiting lists and what services they weren’t able to offer because of a lack of money.”
Wright also said that “anyone who’s trying to say this veto is evidence of a war on women, is deliberately trying to mislead the public for political ends.”