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MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1997202/307-0703



Bismarck, ND--To highlight effective local responses to domestic violence during National Domestic Violence Month, Assistant Attorney General Laurie Overby Robinson, who oversees the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs, is joining Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and state officials today in visits to crisis centers in Jamestown and Bismarck that provide shelter and other services to battered women and their children.

"This country has made a lot of progress in the last few years to address the problem of domestic violence," Robinson said. "Every state now has laws requiring police, prosecutors, and judges to treat domestic violence as a crime, rather than a 'family problem.' And there are many more shelters and other services to assist battered women and children--partly as a result of OJP funding. But there's clearly much more that needs to be done -- particularly in rural areas -- to prevent domestic violence and respond effectively to victims. These centers are excellent examples of the kinds of critical services women need throughout the country."

This morning, Robinson, whose parents were both North Dakotans, will visit the Bismarck Crisis Center and Shelter and participate in a roundtable discussion with State Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp and domestic violence service providers from western North Dakota. This afternoon, Robinson will visit the Jamestown Shelter and then drive to Fargo to participate in a roundtable discussion with domestic violence victim advocates from the eastern half of the state. On Tuesday, Robinson will tour Grand Forks to assess the impact of the recent floods on law enforcement efforts in North Dakota.

The Office of Justice Programs is the Justice Department agency responsible for state and local criminal justice, juvenile justice and crime victims policy and programs. OJP distributes grants to states and localities through its bureaus and offices to improve the criminal and juvenile justice systems and assist crime victims. OJP bureaus also collect criminal justice data, conduct research and disseminate the results, and provide training and technical assistance to criminal justice practitioners around the nation. OJP currently has over 22,000 active grants, totaling some $7.5 billion. For further information about OJP, visit its Web site at:

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