Legislators question domestic violence contract

A state senator has asked officials at the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to reconsider a new agency policy that would require domestic violence victims be counseled on the virtues of healthy marriage, two-parent families and sexual abstinence.

“This needs to be reviewed,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat and a members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “If SRS doesn’t change this on its own, pressure will be applied in committee. This is wrong and needs to be rectified.”

Kelly also is the ranking minority member on the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.

The new requirements are included in proposed contracts between SRS and community programs that serve and counsel victims of domestic violence who are poor and eligible for public assistance.

Most of the services are designed to help victims — nearly all of whom are women with young children — achieve independence and avoid abusive relationships.

“With the change in administration that's going on at SRS, this would be an excellent time to review the content and the direction of this contract,” Kelly said, referring to the recent resignation of SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki.

Siedlecki, an outspoken proponent of healthy marriage, fatherhood and faith-based services, had been secretary for about a year.

Other legislators echoed Kelly's concerns.

“When someone gets married, all of us, I think, hope that that relationship turns out well,” said Sen. Terrie Huntington, R-Fairway. “But there are times when things don’t work out — when there’s spousal abuse or child abuse or both — when divorce, separation or a prolonged absence is the course to take.

“If people in these situations are going to be told they ought to stay married, we should be rethinking the contract,” Huntington said. “Healthy marriage is an admirable goal, but not in every instance.”

According to the new SRS terms, eligible contractors must be “a Community-Based Organization that focuses primarily on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; healthy families initiative, pregnancy prevention through abstinence based programming, parent involvement, and child abuse reduction.”

The contractor also “will be encouraged to work with faith-based and community supports to increase the unification of two (2) parent families and promote pregnancy prevention through abstinence based programs.”

Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, said the proposed contract appeared to be ill-conceived.

“I don’t think abstinence works when you’re being raped,” he said.

Continue reading at khi.org/domesticviolence.

Tagged: kansas srs domestic violence marriage counselling faith-based families


Cammie Braden 6 years, 6 months ago

Would victims also be required to wear pilgrim attire?

Jan Rolls 6 years, 6 months ago

Sam's idiot that came up with this has turned tail and ran back to Florida I'm sure at sam's suggestion. That's the problem they bring these idiots in like brownlee, taylor and the rest and they don't have a clue as how to work with people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, said the proposed contract appeared to be ill-conceived.

“I don’t think abstinence works when you’re being raped,” he said.

Sums it up pretty well.

Darrell Lea 6 years, 6 months ago

Another example of the stupid stuff that happens when someone tries to legislate their idea of "morality." Thoroughly embarrassing.

wastewatcher 6 years, 6 months ago

The LIBERALS WHINE again but do not offer any ideas of their own. Same old song, why didn't they fix the problems when they had control with their LIBERAL LEADER, SEBELIUS?l

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

Are you truly so blinded by hatred of "liberals" that you can't see any problems with the concerns listed regarding this contract? Or perhaps you didn't bother actually looking at the contract to see what it said...preferring to simply complain about "liberals"?

You obviously have zero idea what ideas have been offered, what ideas are working, and what ideas are not working. But, hey...why would you want to let the facts get in the way of your hatred?

hedshrinker 6 years, 6 months ago

The key word in that new policy is HEALTHY marriage. A relationship that has emotional, physical and verbal abuse is NOT HEALTHY because it's not safe. Healthy relationships are based on creating a safe place where one can put down the shields we may need in our larger life and know/trust that there will not be a damaging price to pay. This administration's focus on marriage, keeping families together assumes that marriage is a safe place for both partners and their children. Families requiring outside interventions should at least be able to choose interventions consonant with their value system rather than having them imposed by an administration with a one- size- fits- all mandate. One of those situations in which the adage "If it's not broken, don't fix it" applies. Before the reign of the current regime, the policies and systems dealing with domestic violence already in place was pretty adequate, but the new leadership has decided that all societal ills should be remedied with faith based initiatives, apparently counseling women being beaten by their male partners to accept their submissive place in the family. Most people of a variety of religious and political persuasions would agree that raising children is not a one adult responsibility....it takes a community, etc....but there are all kinds of adults often safer and better suited to that apart from a dangerous batterer. Marriage vows should not be taken lightly, BUT battering abrogates those vows as far as I'm concerned.

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