FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE VAWO
TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2001 202/307-0703
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS ALABAMA $1.8 MILLION
TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
WASHINGTON, DC - Attorney General Ashcroft announced today that the Justice Department is awarding $1.8 million to Alabama 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 develop partnerships among law enforcement, prosecution, the courts and victim services to ensure victim safety and accountability for offenders.
The Justice Department has awarded Alabama over $11.6 million in STOP funds since 1995, for total funding exceeding $13.3 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 Alabama has used STOP funds to support law enforcement and victims’ services with emphasis on responses to sexual assaults. Local domestic violence shelters receive funds to improve services to women, including emergency safe shelter, court advocacy, counseling and information, and referral to other sources of assistance. With the 2001 funds Alabama plans to:
· Support existing sexual assault victim service programs at major universities and establish new programs with other universities;
· Provide statewide training and technical assistance to shelters and rape crisis centers;
· Assist in coordinating training for law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and medical personnel to increase their knowledge and understanding of domestic violence and sexual assault issues;
· Support services provided to victims through the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and Sexual Assault Response Team programs; and
· Enhance outreach programs to assist underserved populations, including the elderly, Native American, and Hispanic women.
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 STOP program purposes.
For information about the Alabama STOP grant contact James Fry, in the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, at 334/242-5843. Information about the STOP program and other initiatives involving violence against women issues is available on VAWO’s Website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo or OJP’s Website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/, or by calling the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free at 800/851-3420.
After hours contact: Angela Harless on 202/616-3266 or pager #888/763-8943