Missouri auditor finds issues with domestic violence funds
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway says cities and counties skipped out on an extra $698,000 in fees that could have gone to domestic violence shelters last year.
According to an audit released Monday by Galloway, that's because state law doesn't require those court fees to be collected.
But Galloway says the extra money could help victims of domestic violence who are denied services. The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence reports about 28,000 requests for help were denied last year.
Galloway's office found that 18 counties didn't turn over any funding to shelters last year.
Of those counties, nearly 3,000 domestic violence incidents were reported in 2017.
She says on top of that shelters face another challenge in filing redundant paperwork to apply for local funding.
Galloway is calling on lawmakers to address concerns raised in the audit.
She also says Missouri can look to neighboring states for a solution, such as Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee.
"[Those states] use a centralized model to distribute fees to domestic violence shelters," Galloway said. "This model could help Missouri in ensuring that funding is strategically distributed based on where it is needed."