For some nonprofit organizations, a potential fivefold increase in clients and a one-third decrease in funding would be daunting. Fortunately, that is not the attitude of Clara J. Stroup and the Assn. to Aid Victims of Domestic Violence. Which is important, given that Stroup’s group is the only one of its kind in the Santa Clarita Valley.
This organization has dealt with a quintupling of reports of battered spouses in the last three years, and is coming off a year in which its budget shrank from $150,000 to $100,000. Its excellent work made it one of the 10 local nonprofit groups that received $5,000 contributions from The Times this past week. But that amount of money will hardly suffice, and Stroup’s group is in need of considerable help.
The Santa Clarita agency provides a 24-hour hot line, emergency intervention and transportation and safe housing. Part of the increase in her group’s clientele, Stroup says, is a greater awareness among women of options for help. Changes in state law have also increased the number of abusers referred to the agency for such services as counseling.
Domestic violence in our region is a monumental problem, accounting for some 40% of all calls for police service. The Los Angeles Police Department, for example, reports that there were 42,700 such cases last year that resulted in arrests or paperwork.
The demands on Stroup’s group won’t abate soon. It deserves the Santa Clarita Valley community’s thanks for saving battered spouses, and for persuading abusers to avoid violence.