Butte County's Catalyst Domestic Violence Services

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Anastacia Snyder is the Director of Catalyst Domestic Violence Services.

Anastacia Snyder is the Director of Catalyst Domestic Violence Services. (photo: Rachelle Parker)

All across the United States, social programs that aim to protect the victims of domestic violence are experiencing a severe shortage [PDF] in government funding and individual donations due to the poor economy.

I met with Anastacia Snyder, the director of Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in Chico to find out how this organization, which is the non-Native American provider of comprehensive domestic violence services in Butte County, is coping with the loss of funding.

"I joined Catalyst [in 1996] at the height of everyone's collective conversation about domestic violence and that was really brought about by the Nicole Brown Simpson murder," Snyder says. "After that there was so much money to do some really good work and start some really good programs. Now we find ourselves completely under-funded and so many of our organizations are scaling back to just basic crisis services. Some of that was related to our government not prioritizing domestic violence, but now it is just the current economy across the board."

Catalyst services are divided into two parts. The first consists of basic emergency services. To save money there, Snyder has had to cut back on staffing and reduce counselor hours.

"Three July's ago we closed the Paradise and Oroville offices," Snyder says. "We were only able to re-open the Oroville office because the City of Oroville decided to take over the management of the site."

The other part of Catalyst services is the transitional housing. Catalyst offers six months of housing and then if necessary, a client could participate in an 18-month program geared toward giving the client more time to find permanent employment and housing. This two-tiered housing consists of four cottages. All of these cottages were built in partnership with California State University, Chico as part of its Winter Community Service Project. Snyder says that students and volunteers from throughout the community came together to build all four cottages for the organization. Although the cottages are ready, Catalyst currently has no operating funds for the project and it is operating at a deficit.

Catalyst also used to offer a teen-to-teen drop-in program where teens talked to each other about violence prevention, but according to Snyder, that program was de-funded in 2005.

"It is so critical to do really good prevention work," she says. "The problem is, prevention is not funded. When there is not enough money to do direct services and intervention services, what gets cut is prevention."

Snyder says that Catalyst has seen an increase in the number of calls from teens, possibly as a direct result of losing funding for that program.

"You know teens are dating at younger and younger ages so we're trying to reach them early," says Snyder.

Though Catalyst Domestic Services is struggling, Snyder says she is thankful that most of their donors have continued to assist Catalyst, albeit at lower levels than before. Also, she says the program has been able to maintain a group of 45 volunteers to help them stay afloat.

Catalyst will begin training new volunteers in September. For more info call: (530) 343-7798, or call Cindy Hawthorne at the Greater Oroville Family Resource Center at (530) 533-1576.

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About Rachelle Parker

Rachelle Parker was born in Oakland, California and raised in the Bay Area. Her grandmother moved to Oroville in 1960, resulting in Rachelle spending many summers and holidays in the area. Rachelle moved to Oroville in 2003. A graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in Sociology, Rachelle is a winner of the Judith Stronach Prize for prose, and contributed a story to The New City magazine in 1999 under the tutelage of Clay Felker. Rachelle has worked off and on as both a print and broadcast journalist since 1980, and is happy to bring her love of writing and her concern for her community to the task of being a citizen correspondent for KQED’s Health Dialogues.

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