Today, Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee Republican Leader Russ Fulcher (R-ID) delivered the following opening statement at a subcommittee hearing to examine ways to prevent domestic violence and promote healthy communities:
"A 2015 survey by the CDC estimated that one-third of all men and women are victims of domestic violence at some point in their life. Data in 2019 from my home state of Idaho supports this survey, whereby about 37 percent of assaults were domestic violence-related. In 2020, it's worse.
"COVID-19 has dealt our nation with government-mandated restrictions and economic challenges. It appears those negative outcomes have snowballed to exacerbate an even worse fallout. Evidence suggests that in this pandemic-ridden environment, stress, due to work, school, substance abuse, and financial struggles, have added to more violence in the home. Especially hard-hit appear to be rural areas where job opportunities can be hard to find. Last year, Idaho saw an 84 percent increase in domestic violence-related calls, along with more emergency intakes and overnight shelter requests.
"Domestic violence in any form is an evil that demands a strong response. This issue does not impact all people equally. While a notable share of men are victimized, domestic violence disproportionately impacts women. And despite the cancel culture's desire to blur the lines between women and men, facts are facts. We need to protect everyone and realize that our women are the most vulnerable.
"Congress has continued to allocate funding to address this issue, most recently in the CARES Act via Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVPSA) programs, which I and many of my colleagues supported. Moving forward, our efforts should include confronting the issue and supporting survivors, with tools like the domestic violence hotline so victims can reach out and receive help.
"However, the solution is more complicated than simply increasing spending. More money alone will NOT solve domestic violence in our society. We must understand that dealing with this issue is best done at the local level, and government cannot always provide the answers. Local civic groups and faith-based providers are best positioned to provide aid and deliver it effectively.
"Committee Republicans recognize the importance of supporting survivors of domestic violence. But any reauthorization should focus primarily on local solutions and a coordinated community response, not just more federal spending. The Committee should work to support best practices and act, knowing that as good as our intentions may be, we cannot pretend to be able to solve them all from Washington, D.C.
"I look forward to hearing from our witnesses, especially Ms. Ami Novoryta, who will discuss the important work local organizations and faith-based providers are doing on the ground to serve those in need."