|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||VAWO||FEBRUARY 1999||202/307-0703|
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FUNDS CONTINUE LOCAL EFFORTS TO
COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Thirty-two communities in 17 states will receive $11.5 million to continue their efforts to implement policies that encourage or mandate the arrest of batterers and enforce protection orders, the Justice Department announced today. The goal of the Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies program is to foster collaboration among law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and victim advocates to treat domestic violence as a serious crime.
"We are sending a strong message to batterers that says if you thought you could beat your partner -- you thought wrong," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "Domestic violence is no longer a problem that is kept behind closed doors but one whose solution lies in community involvement."
The Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Violence Against Women Grants Office (VAWGO) is awarding these funds to the 32 communities to continue projects begun with FY 1996 and FY 1997 funds. In early June, VAWGO plans to award funds to selected applicants from the FY 1998 solicitation. Due to the large number of requests for FY 1998 funding under the Arrest program, VAWGO did not solicit applications for FY 1999. Instead, they considered the remaining applications from FY 1998 for funding this year.
"In many jurisdictions from Montana to Minnesota to Massachusetts, police officers, (MORE) prosecutors and victim advocates have been using our funds to build on their efforts to hold offenders accountable and improve victims' safety," said Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for OJP. "These funds can help communities continue to educate judges and others about domestic violence, develop systems to track domestic violence cases and strengthen services for victims of domestic violence."
In Montana, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe's prosecution unit is using these funds to support a prosecutorial investigator, a law enforcement liaison and a victim advocacy coordinator to track domestic violence cases through the tribal criminal justice system. Hennepin County, Minnesota will use the funds to develop an interdisciplinary domestic violence team to address the impact on children who witness domestic violence.
The Williamsburg Police Department in Massachusetts will develop a training model to take to rural police departments. Since their staff numbers are often so low, rural police departments can rarely spare the manpower to send to state-sponsored trainings. These funds will support teams of law enforcement, prosecution and victim services representatives who will conduct evening and weekend courses on responses to domestic violence calls.
Attached is a list of the specific grant awards. To learn more about the arrest program and other violence against women efforts, visit the Violence Against Women Grants Office Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/VAWGO or OJP's Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov, or call the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free on 1/800-851-3420.
After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534 or page on 888/582-6750