Home News Local news V.I. GETS $635K TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

V.I. GETS $635K TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

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Aug. 11, 2001 — The Law Enforcement Planning Commission has received $635,000 from the federal government to prevent and respond to violence against women.
The award is funded under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and is part of the Services, Training, Officers and Prosecutors (STOP) grants program, according to Delegate Donna Christian Christensen. STOP funds are primarily used to promote partnerships among law enforcement, prosecution, the courts and victim advocacy groups to ensure the safety of victims and the accountability of offenders.
Since 1995, the U.S. Justice Department has awarded the Virgin Islands more than $3.1 million in VAWA funds under the STOP grant program. The LEPC works with the territory's Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and its Child Abuse Task Forces. The task forces consist of representatives of not-for-profit victim service providers, the justice system and government social service agencies.
With the funding, communities are urged to restructure and strengthen the criminal justice system response to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement.
"No American should feel outside the protection of the law or beyond the reach of the law," Ashcroft said. "The STOP program supports communities that champion victims’ rights and develops coordinated responses to violence against women.
"We must continue to provide our communities with the resources to hold offenders accountable and to meet the needs of victims," he said.
With the fiscal year 2001 STOP funding, the LEPC plans to:
– Enhance links between prosecution, law enforcement and the courts to track arrests, prosecution orders, violations of such orders and conviction rates.
– Purchase investigative equipment and supplies.
– Enhance procedures for responding to domestic violence calls.
– Assess whether a lethal threat exists in domestic violence cases.
– Train law-enforcement officers, prosecutors and advocates involved in cases of violence against women.
– Support a prosecutor and victim liaison position in the Attorney General's Office.
STOP grant funding must be divided among agencies — including 25 percent to law enforcement, 25 percent to prosecution, 30 percent to victim services and 5 percent to courts. The other 15 percent can be used at the discretion of the jurisdiction for other STOP programs.
For additional information, contact R. Maria Brady, director of Victim Witness Services in the Office of the Governor, at 774-6400. Also contact Delegate Christensen’s office on St. Thomas at 774-4408, or on St. Croix at 778-5900. Or visit the www.ojp.usdoj.gov web site.

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