FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    VAWO

TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2001                                                                                        202/307-0703

 

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS $2.3 MILLION

TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

 

WASHINGTON, DC - Attorney General Ashcroft announced today that the Justice

Department is awarding $2.3 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 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 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 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 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts over $14.7 million in STOP funds since 1995, for total funding exceeding $24.2 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 million in overall VAWA funding, a $102.52 million increase over FY 2001.

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.

 

Since 1995, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ STOP Program has focused on strengthening coordinated efforts among law enforcement, prosecution, advocacy and other community organizations to curb domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.  Through its Executive Office of Public Safety, Massachusetts has:

·                       Supported projects that place specialized domestic violence/sexual assault civilian advocates within law enforcement and prosecutorial offices;

·                       Provided statewide training for civilian advocates and their supervisors; and

·                       Established a statewide training institute for prosecutors and victim‑witness advocates working on cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking. 


In addition, SAFEPLAN Massachusetts, a program providing court‑based advocacy for victims of domestic abuse seeking protective orders in district courts or probate and family courts, has received continued support under the Massachusetts STOP Program.  In its continued effort to reach out to specific underserved populations, the Massachusetts STOP Program has also established funding priorities to support programs that hire full‑time bilingual prosecutors and/or victim witness advocates specializing in domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking; and improving access of court services by deaf or hearing impaired victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.  

The STOP Program is authorized under the Violence Against Women Acts 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 information about the Massachusetts STOP grant, contact Michael O’Toole, Executive Director, Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety, at 617/727-6300. Information about the STOP program and other initiatives involving violence against women issues is available on VAWO’s Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo or OJP’s Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov, or by calling the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free at 800/851-3420.

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After hours contact: Angela Harless on 202/616-3266 or pager #888/763-8943