$2.2 million have been cut from the Department of Children and Family Services. This includes nearly $1 million in cuts to domestic violence programs all over the state.
Director of Domestic Violence Awareness Team (DART), Terrie Queen Autrey , says statewide budget cuts are devastating her program.
"We have lost two staff members already, we're cutting services and we're cutting cost in every possible way," says Autrey.
63-thousand-dollars has been eliminated from DART, forcing the group to possibly switch from secret safe houses to unsecured hotels. The department of justice says those that leave domestic abuse situations have a 75 percent chance of being killed by their abuser. That is why the need a safe confidential and secure location, like safe houses, is vital in helping a family flee an abusive situation.
Autrey says, "20 years ago all we could offer was 2 nights at a hotel and meals but most importantly it's not safe to stay in a hotel.
One of the shelter's victims is speaking out. For safety her identity is being concealed, we'll call her "Emma."
"DART has put me in a position to where no on knows where I am, and I have been able to have counseling," says Emma.
Emotionally abused for years by her husband, Emma finally got the courage to leave everything behind and start over. DART's programs not only provided her counseling, but also basic needs.
"They give you a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head and meals you normally wouldn't even think about that" says Emma.
Domestic Violence cases like Emma's are an epidemic in the state, it's evident in Autrey's daily life at DART.
"Yesterday alone, DART turned away three mothers, two had two kids, and one had one. So in one day we could not serve 10 people who needed safety," says Autrey.
She hopes the cuts won't be permanent and that her program will survive these major setbacks.
We asked Emma, what she would've done to her if did not have dart to turn to. This is what she said:
"The only way I saw out was being suicidal. If darts had not have been available and took me in I would probably not be sitting here talking to you."