Contact: Violence Against Women Office, 202-307-0703
Justice Department Awards Alaska $751,000
To Combat Violence Against Women
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Ashcroft announced today that the Justice Department is awarding $751,000 to Alaska 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 Alaska over $4 million in STOP funds since 1997, for total funding exceeding $11.6 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.
The State of Alaska has used its STOP funds to strengthen effective law enforcement, prosecution strategies, and victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women by:
· Expanding the Legal Advocacy Project through training and use of community legal advocates and the development of legal resource materials for women;
· Establishing an Alaska State Troopers’ training coordination position, hiring a DNA criminologist, and providing sexual assault response training to local law enforcement officers;
· Continuing the statewide Violence Against Women Implementation Planning Committee, which addresses issues of domestic violence and sexual assault of women; and,
· Conducting strategic planning sessions, which address sexual assault issues.
With the 2001 funds, Alaska plans to strengthen victim services, prosecution, and law enforcement. In addition, Alaska plans to place a greater emphasis on providing services to its rural communities.
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 Alaska STOP grant, contact Trisha Gentle, Executive Director of Alaska’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, at 907/465-4356. Information about the STOP program and other initiatives involving violence against women is available on VAWO’s Website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawoor OJP’s Website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/, or by calling the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free at 1-800/851-3420.
After hours contact: Angela Harless on 202/616-3266 or pager #888/763-8943