Contact: Violence Against Women Office, 202-307-0703
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS MISSOURI $2.1 MILLION
TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
WASHINGTON, DC - Attorney General Ashcroft announced today that the Justice Department is awarding $2.1 million to Missouri 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 Missouri over $13.3 million in STOP funds since 1995, for total funding exceeding $16 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 Missouri has used its STOP funds to allow localities to restructure and strengthen the criminal justice system’s response in addressing violence against women. A task force consisting of representatives from sheriffs’ departments, police departments, prosecutors’
offices, the circuit court, domestic violence shelters and sexual assault victim advocates was developed to address issues related to crimes against women.
With the 2001 funding Missouri will continue to:
· Hire and train law enforcement personnel;
· Support specialized domestic violence units within law enforcement agencies;
· Implement a domestic violence crisis intervention program;
· Develop outreach services; and
· Hire advocates in domestic violence organizations.
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 Missouri STOP grant, contact Vicky Scott in the Missouri Department of Public Safety at 573/751-4905. Information about the STOP program and other initiatives involving violence against women 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 1-800/851-3420.
After hours contact: Angela Harless on 202/616-3266 or pager #888/763-8943