JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS OREGON $1.5 MILLION TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Contact: U.S. Justice Department Violence Against Women Office,

          202-307-0703

 

   WASHINGTON, July 18 -- Attorney General John Ashcroft announced today that the Justice Department is awarding $1.5 million to Oregon to prevent and respond to violence against women, as part of this year's STOP (Services, Training, Officers and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program. This program is funded under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

 

   "No American should feel outside of the protection of the law, or beyond the reach of the law. The STOP program supports communities that champion victims' rights and develops coordinated responses to violence against women," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "The funds will give law enforcement and victim services the resources they need to do a better job of investigating, prosecuting and preventing crimes against women. We must continue to provide our communities with the resources to hold offenders accountable and to meet the needs of victims."

 

   STOP funds are used to promote partnerships among law enforcement, prosecution, the courts and victim advocates to ensure victim safety and accountability for offenders.

 

   The Justice Department has awarded Oregon more than $9 million in STOP funds since 1997, for total funding exceeding $20.8 million under the VAWA grant programs since the enactment of the VAWA legislation in 1994. In the President's FY 2002 budget request, the Justice Department seeks $390 billion in overall VAWA funding, a $102.52 million increase over FY2001.

 

   Through this funding, states and communities are urged to restructure and strengthen the criminal justice system response to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, utilizing the expertise of all participants working in the system, including victim advocates.

 

   The State of Oregon has used STOP funds to address crimes of domestic and family violence, sexual assault and stalking by:

 

   -- Legislatively defining the crime of domestic violence and

enhancing penalties for crimes of domestic violence and sexual

assault;

   -- Administering state funds for victim services that include

domestic violence shelters, safe homes and hotlines;

   -- Providing five legal service programs in the state that

provide assistance in civil cases to victims of domestic violence;

and

   -- Researching information regarding gaps in services to victims

that will be used to reform polices and help direct funding.

 

   The State of Oregon help its first statewide Sexual Assault Summit in 1999; attended by representatives from law enforcement, advocacy, prosecutor's officers, medical profession and public health agencies. The Summit lead to the first Task Force on Sexual Assault, which is working to increase Oregon's resources in responding to sexual assaults. With the 2001 STOP funds Oregon intends to improve and strengthen intervention and preventative programs, victim services and outreach to rural communities.

 

   The STOP Program is authorized under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and 2000. The STOP grants are awarded by the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Violence Against Women Office (VAWO) to designated state agencies, which must award 25 percent of the funds they receive to law enforcement, 25 percent to prosecution, 30 percent to victim services, 5 percent to courts and 15 percent at the state's discretion for other STOP program purposes.

 

   For more information about the Oregon STOP grant contact Renee Kim, with the Criminal Justice Services Division, in the Department of State Police, at 503-378-3725. Information about the STOP program and other initiatives involving violence against women issues is available on VAWO's Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.vawo or OJP's Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. or by calling the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free at 800-851-3420.

 

   After hours contact: Angela Harless at 202-616-3266 or pager 888-763-8943.