Contact: Violence Against Women Office, 202-307-0703
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS RHODE ISLAND $888,000
TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Ashcroft announced today that the Justice Department is awarding $888,000 to Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island over $4.8 million in STOP funds
since 1995, for total funding exceeding $7.9 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 Rhode Island has used STOP funds to develop a comprehensive, statewide plan to reduce violent crimes against women and to enhance victim services’ response to sexual assault. The Rhode Island Governor’s Justice Commission has fostered a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing violence against women by bringing together victim advocates and representatives of law enforcement, prosecution, and the courts. STOP funds are being used to establish or sustain the following initiatives:
· A specialized domestic violence and sexual assault unit in the Department of the Attorney General;
· A Restraining Order/No Contact Orders Registry (RONCO), available to law enforcement and the judiciary 24 hours-a-day;
· A train-the-trainer program for law enforcement professionals to improve law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assault cases; and
· The Network to End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, a coordinated effort by several organizations to support training for volunteer advocates to respond to domestic and sexual assault, and a statewide help line for victims.
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 Rhode Island STOP grant, contact Kristin Martineau with the Governor’s Justice Commission, at 401/ 222-5349. 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