FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE VAWO
THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2001 202/307-0703
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS IOWA $1.4 MILLION
TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
WASHINGTON, DC - Attorney General Ashcroft announced today that the Justice Department is awarding $1.4 million to Iowa 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 Iowa over $8.4 million in STOP funds since 1995, for total funding exceeding $12.1 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.
The State of Iowa has used STOP funds to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault and to enhance services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking with a special attention to increasing services to victims in underserved populations. In a joint effort of the Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa Judicial Department, STOP funds have been used to develop and implement
a protective order registry. STOP funds have also been used to:
· Support statewide and local multi-disciplinary training for prosecutors, law enforcement and victim services personnel;
· Hire prosecutors specializing in domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking cases;
· Develop Domestic Abuse Response Teams (DARTs) consisting of a special prosecutor, law enforcement investigator or team of investigators and a victim advocate; and
· Develop a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) consisting of a special prosecutor, law enforcement investigator or team of investigators (including medical), and a victim advocate.
The SART team project is located on the campus of Iowa State University to assist in the investigation, prosecution and advocacy of sexual assault cases. STOP funds have been used to support fourteen legal/DART advocate positions, six multi-cultural outreach advocate positions, and a violence prevention coordinator through the State Department of Public Health.
With the Fiscal Year 2001 STOP funding, the State of Iowa will continue its support of local and statewide initiatives to effectively strengthen the criminal justice system and enhance its response to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
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 Iowa STOP grant contact Rebecca Kinnamon with the Iowa Governor’s Alliance on Substance Abuse, at 515/242-6379. 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.
After hours contact: Angela Harless on 202/616-3266 or pager #888/763-8943