Several hundred advocates gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol Tuesday to call on legislators to provide $3 million in funding for the next two years to combat domestic violence, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Eight women have been killed so far this year in Minnesota, allegedly by husbands or boyfriends they were trying to leave. There were 18 such cases in the state last year. Domestic violence victims' advocates say that while demand for their services is up, funding for them continues to dwindle, even as the spate of recent domestic killings has shocked local communities.
Domestic violence is “not just a women's issue,” but a public health issue that inflicts lifelong damage on those connected with its victims, said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, Minnesota's health commissioner. Six counties and the northern portion of a seventh, St. Louis County, as well as four reservation communities, no longer receive state funding for domestic abuse services, an advocate said. In the past eight months, three domestic violence programs in Fillmore, Carlton and northern St. Louis counties closed, as did satellite offices. Last year, 63,267 victims sought services from Minnesota domestic violence programs.