The development of services for Alaskan victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and their families is truly an example of a "grassroots" effort that led to the creation of a number of major statewide programs as well as a governmental funding agency, the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (Council).
The effort started in 1976 when a group of concerned women established the Alaska Women’s Resource Center in Anchorage and began efforts to obtain services for battered women. They organized the first Alaskan conference on domestic violence. As a result of that conference, which began to focus attention on the need for services, the state's first shelter Abused Women's Aid In Crisis (AWAIC) was established in Anchorage in the fall of 1977. By 1978, limited services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault were also being provided in eight other communities, primarily through volunteers and some federal funds.
In 1978, a statewide network of the community-based non-profit groups that were providing services, the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (Network), was incorporated. By 1980, federal funding ended, but State funds for the programs increased to $1.8 million for FY81. This money supported sixteen programs. Funding for the programs was funneled through the Network for decisions on program funding, with the Department of Health
and Social Services only administering and monitoring the grants. The Legislature added intent language in the FY81 budget stating "No further increases in domestic violence and sexual assault budgets until legislation establishing responsibilities is passed." There were concerns that having a non-profit group outside of State government making funding decisions was unprecedented and had no statutory base.
As a result, the Network and the Department of Health and Social Services developed proposed legislation for authorization to administer grants-in-aid to domestic violence and sexual assault programs. The resulting legislation was AS 18.66, which established the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and placed it in the Department of Public Safety, effective October 24, 1981. The Network felt strongly that since domestic violence and sexual assault are primarily issues of safety and must be acknowledged as the serious crimes they are, the Council should be in the Department of Public Safety.
5700 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99507
Phone: (907) 269-5511