YWCA domestic violence advocates lobby for several bills - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

YWCA domestic violence advocates lobby for several bills

Posted: Updated:

YAKIMA, Wash. -- With less than a week to go in the legislative session local domestic violence advocates are lobbying lawmakers. Some of the domestic violence bills could help people in Yakima.

"The last incident we had that year, I ended up in the hospital and had a broken tail bone, I had belt slashes all over my body," said Joann Garcia, YWCA advocate.

Garcia married her abuser at age 14, the relationship lasting 27 years. When she did leave, her grown children supported the decision, her elderly mother did not.  

"And then when I finally left him she said, 'Well can't you guys work it out.' Because she's really old school and I said 'No Mom.' That year, that was the last one," said Garcia.

When Garcia left she had no job, beaten down for years she had to learn independence she'd never had.

"It's not a question of why don't you just leave it's a question of what's making you stay," said Erin Black, executive director, YWCA.

Black spent last week in Olympia lobbying for House Bill 2777 and House Bill 3177, both work to give victims more time away from their abusers by changing laws and funding transitional housing.

Last year the YWCA served 116 women and 149 children in the Yakima shelter, plus helped over a thousand people with counseling and legal advice.

Black said they need more transitional housing and that's why the shelter is expanding to include 16 new subsidized housing units. Women and children will be able to live in the apartments for two years.

"So we're talking about a longer span of time that we can work on those barriers and once you identify those barriers we can work on self sustainability," said Black.

The legislative session wraps-up next week, House Bill 3177 if passed could help fund more of the shelter expansion.

If you'd like to learn more about domestic violence services you can call the YWCA at 248-7796.