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Idaho Legal Aid to help rural domestic violence victims

October 8, 2018

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — Domestic violence victims in rural communities face unique challenges.

Idaho Legal Aid Service, Inc. was awarded a federal grant of $480,014 last month from the Office on Violence Against Women’s Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program to help victims in those rural communities, The Idaho Press-Tribune reported .

Over the next three years, Idaho Legal Aid is partnering with crisis centers across Idaho to increase access to legal help and victim’s services.

Those services include gas money, bus tickets or money for a U-Haul if victims need to move out, and emergency housing funds for hotel rooms or a housing security deposit if there is no close shelter or shelter space. The grant will also go toward counseling and advocacy services as well as address the large need for translators in many cases.

“One unique thing that rural survivors face is that a counselor or law enforcement agent might be a family member or a friend,” said Gina Whitney, development director for Idaho Legal Aid. “In small communities it’s around you all the time, you can’t get away from it.”

In addition to a lack of services, a lack of funds has crisis centers “running on a shoestring,” Whitney said. The grant will hopefully create a “safety net for survivors.”

Nancy Hurd has been an attorney for Idaho Legal Aid — housed in the Nampa Justice center — for three years. She has driven as far as Council — more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) — to provide legal services for domestic violence victims.

“You’re asking people who live there to drive two hours for services,” Hurd said. “What if they don’t have a car? Or they have to pick up their kids from school at 3 p.m.? We run into all those issues because they just don’t have the resources.”

Hurd hopes the grant money will trickle down far enough for them to be able to travel the extra miles for more people.

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Information from: Idaho Press, http://www.idahopress.com

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