FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE VAWO
TUESDAY, JULY 3, 2001 202/307-0703
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS ARIZONA $1.9 MILLION
TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
WASHINGTON, DC - Attorney General Ashcroft announced today that the Justice Department is awarding $1.9 million to Arizona 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 Arizona over $11.2 million in STOP funds since 1995, for total funding exceeding $23.1 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.
Arizona continues to fund projects that address identified needs and improve the criminal justice system’s response to violent crimes against women.
The State of Arizona has used its STOP funds to:
· Develop and implement a statewide model law enforcement training program for police officers, 911 operators, and prosecutors on issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
· Develop specialized sexual assault and domestic violence units within police departments;
· Provide legal advocacy to victims in rural communities;
· Develop curricula and educational materials for judges and court staff, including probation officers;
· Expand full, faith and credit services between state and tribal courts and;
· Increase outreach to rural and Native American communities.
Current project priorities include:
· Providing effective and consistent criminal justice services to citizens;
· Developing a safe and consistent continuum of services through a coordinated community approach to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and
· Coordinating, designing, and implementing a plan that will assess the status of domestic violence and sexual assault services in Arizona’s rural, tribal, and urban 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 Arizona STOP grant contact Donna Irwin, in the Governor’s Office for Domestic Violence Protection at 602/542-1773. 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