FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        VAWO

TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2001                                                                            202/307-0703






WASHINGTON, DC - Attorney General Ashcroft announced today that the Justice Department is awarding $1,976,000 to Minnesota 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 Minnesota over $16.9  million in STOP funds since 1995, for total funding exceeding $36.4 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 Minnesota is focusing efforts on making law enforcement and prosecution services more accessible to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  State plans also include training for law enforcement and prosecution to enhance their responsiveness  to domestic violence and sexual assault. In particular, Minnesota will continue to concentrate on serving the needs of women of color and American Indian women who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  Advocacy services will be strengthened and delivery of such services to racial, cultural, and ethnic minorities will be improved.

 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 Minnesota STOP grant contact Rachel Bandy, in the Minnesota Center for Crime Victim Services, at 651/205-4826.  Information about the STOP program and other initiatives involving violence against women issues is available on VAWO’s Web site at or OJP’s Web site at, 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