IowaARCh to lose funding after 6/30/2017

May 16, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IOWA’S MOST INNOVATIVE VICTIM SERVICES PROGRAM DEFUNDED


Des Moines, Iowa

Last April, the Iowa Legislature approved a 26% cut from the state’s victim services program.  Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa was notified that IowaARCh, a program under Monsoon, will be defunded.  IowaARCh is a program providing online victim services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and sex trafficking.

Eliminating funding to the statewide chatline at this time would cut an innovative new program just as it begins to hit its stride. IowaARCh is the first such service in the nation, and has received inquiries from organizations around the country hoping to learn from our model. Overall chats have increased dramatically in 2017 (by about 40%), as have the proportions of our users who are male, nonbinary, LGBTQ+, under age 26, and chatting about sexual assault (sexual assault chats have increased by 70% in 2017). These populations are known to be marginalized and less likely to reach out for support. In a field dominated by straight white female social workers, IowaARCh staff has always been incredibly diverse in age, gender, race/ethnicity, religion, national origin, career background, and sexual orientation. This exemplifies IowaARCh’s focus on its mission of bringing marginalized experiences to the center, and makes our service a safer space for users who may be reluctant to reach out to traditional services. The feedback we have received from anonymous chatters speaks for itself: One writes, “It’s amazing how much help I got,” while another tells us, “This conversation has…opened my eyes more than anything else has.”  IowaARCh is an example of Iowa creating innovative and forward-looking victim services, but due to the newness of the program, it was the first on the chopping block.

The defunding of IowaARCh will result in Iowa going backward instead of moving into the future.

For more information, contact Mira Yusef at mirayusef@muawi.org or Alexandra Nassif at alexandranassif@muawi.org