FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    VAWO

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2001                                                                         202/307-0703

 

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS WYOMING $737,000

TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

 

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

Department is awarding $737,000 to Wyoming 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 Wyoming over $3.8 million in STOP funds since 1995, for total funding exceeding $6.7 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.

 

Wyoming continues to fund projects that address identified needs and improve the criminal justice system’s response to violent crimes against women.          

Current project priorities emphasize:     

·                       Providing training to law enforcement officers and personnel in victim-witness assistance programs;

·                      Assisting prosecutors to enforce criminal sanctions for perpetrators of violence against women;

·                      Assisting non-profit, non-governmental victims services programs; and

·                      Meeting the needs of underserved populations throughout the state.

 

Wyoming’s STOP planning committee recently developed model standards for law enforcement and prosecution dealing with domestic violence victims; these standards will be implemented statewide once approved.  In June 2001, a case tracking system is expected to be implemented, allowing data to be collected and tracked on victims in Wyoming’s shelters and advocacy programs.  The state will continue to offer training programs for law enforcement officers, judges, and prosecutors to address violent crimes against women. Given the vast rural areas in Wyoming, STOP funds continue to bring services closer to the victims and to keep victims safe. 

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 Wyoming STOP grant, contact Sharon Montagnino, Director, Division of Victim Services, Wyoming Office of the Attorney General, at 307/777-7841.  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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VAW01129

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