For fiscal year 2019, the Iowa Legislature has appropriated $5,016,708 for victim services grants, a number which has remained stagnant in recent years. The State of Iowa needs to revitalize its diminishing commitment to some of our most at-risk Iowans by appropriating an additional $1 million to victim services grant funding in the upcoming legislative session.
These funds go to assist victims of violence, sexual abuse, and human trafficking, all of which queer youth are at higher risk of, especially homeless queer youth. 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. These queer homeless youth are 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts – they are also 3-to-7 times more likely to engage in survival sex to meet basic needs.
It is essential that we provide the proper resources and funding to assist those who are victimized on a daily basis. Not only will this help the queer youth we represent, but it will go to assisting a broad group of victim service organizations from across Iowa.