Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $3 Million in Violence Against Women Act Grant Funds

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $3 Million in
Violence Against Women Act Grant Funds

LAWRENCE – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that it has awarded grants totaling more than $3 million to 37 community-based organizations, police departments and state agencies as part of the Violence Against Women Act, Services Training Officers Prosecutors (VAWA STOP) Grant Program. This program is administered by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research (OGR).

“Sexual assault, domestic violence and any form of violence against women have no place in our society,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants reflect our strong commitment to ending gender-based violence and supporting the organizations that work every day to help women and girls live in safety and peace.”

“Each one of these awardees has an essential role in protecting the lives and welfare of at-risk women and girls, and we are very pleased to be able to support the important work they do every day,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

“The strong partnerships that exist between law enforcement agencies and these community organizations provide that key network of support that helps us to prevent, identify, and respond to violent crimes against women,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Thomas Turco.

“Vital funding received through a VAWA grant allows RESPOND to bring its resources to those in need,” said Victoria Helberg, Law Enforcement Parnership Coordinator of Respond Inc. “As part of our Law Enforcement Partnership program, a domestic violence advocate is able to be on-site at the Malden District Court one day, each week to provide support for survivors. We recently heard from a former client who said, ‘If it wasn't for you getting my attention that day at court and giving me your card, I would have never known this program existed. I felt so hopeless then.”

“Our Homelessness Response Program addresses the overwhelming challenges of homelessness, housing instability and poverty faced by survivors working to escape and recover from violence. Because of VAWA funding, we are able to provide services to address immediate and short-term needs, individual and group transitional follow-up, and long-term financial stability,” said Janis Broderick, Executive Director of the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

“The VAWA STOP Grant Award has had a profound impact on the amount of services that the Yarmouth Police Department has been able to offer through our full-time Victim Advocate, who has reached out to more 1,000 victims over the past two years,” said Annie Catalano, Victim Services Specialist/Advocate for the Yarmouth Police Department. “The funding has also allowed our Special Victims Unit to receive and host trauma informed training that would never been possible otherwise.”

“VAWA STOP Grant program funding has enabled the Boston Police Department to reach some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence in Boston by directly supporting a Spanish-speaking civilian advocate who serves the East Boston and Jamaica Plain districts– two neighborhoods with high concentrations of Spanish-speaking and immigrant populations,” said Jenna Savage, Deputy Director of the Boston Police Department’s Office of Research & Development. “In 2019 alone, that advocate provided safety planning and advocacy within the criminal justice system to nearly 300 DV survivors – nearly half of whom identified as Hispanic/Latino – regardless of their immigration status, sexual orientation, or willingness to prosecute their batterer.”

The Violence Against Women Act was passed by Congress in 1994 and marked a turning point in the federal recognition of the extent and seriousness of violence against women, and solidified a commitment by the government to address the problem by providing federal resources for the issue.

Over the last four years, nearly $10 million in VAWA funds have been granted statewide to support domestic and sexual assault victims and their families.

The VAWA STOP grant is a vital resource that supports a variety of specialized and innovative projects throughout the Commonwealth. Some initiatives supported by these grant funds include:

·       Services specifically devoted to preventing, identifying, and responding to violent crimes against women;
·       Training opportunities for judiciary, court, and probation personnel, in addition to law enforcement and victim service providers;
·       Partnerships between law enforcement and victim service providers, to provide compassionate outreach to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking; and
·       Supporting prosecutors working closely with victim witness advocates, probation, law enforcement, and state agencies, to target high-risk cases and increase offender accountability.

Attached below is the list of 2019–2020 VAWA STOP recipients. Each organization received an increase total award amount for year three:

Funding Category
Recommended Award
Project Description
Administrative Office of the Trial Court

Training for judges, clerks of court, probation officers, and all other appropriate court personnel
Category Total

Adams PD
Partnership between PD and Elizabeth Freeman Center advocate

Asian Task Force
Legal and community-based advocacy services to LEP Pan-Asian immigrants and refugees

Bedford Police Department
Partnership between PD and Domestic Violence Services Network advocate

Behavioral Health
Civilian police advocate

DOVE, Inc.
Civilian police advocates

Jewish Family & Children’s Services
$35 ,759.87
Advocacy for Russian-speaking victims while conducting trainings for community partners and law enforcement

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
Domestic violence victim response enhancement program

Northeast Legal Aid, Inc.
Legal services

Our Deaf Survivors Center
Direct advocacy services to Deaf survivors

The Network/La Red
Outreach, education and training to improve systems and community responses to LGBQ/T survivors
Category Total

Law Enforcement
Assumption College PD
Partnership between PD and Pathways for Change sexual assault advocate

Boston PD
Civilian police advocate

Cambridge PD
Civilian police advocate

Fitchburg PD
Civilian police advocate

Hampden County Sheriff
Direct services for incarcerated victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking

MA Department of Corrections
Direct services for incarcerated victims of sexual assault

MA Department of Public Health
SANE forensic nursing services

Mashpee PD
Civilian police advocate

Pittsfield PD
Partnership between PD and Elizabeth Freeman Center advocate

Worcester PD
Partnership between PD and YWCA

Yarmouth PD
Partnership between PD and Independence House advocate
Law Enforcement
Category Total

Bristol County DA
Domestic violence victim witness advocates

MA District Attorney’s Association
Statewide prosecutor training

Norfolk County DA
Specialized domestic violence/sexual assault prosecutors

Northwestern DA
Immediate law enforcement and advocacy response for victims

Worcester County DA
Specialized domestic violence prosecutor and victim witness advocate team

Category Total

Victim Services
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
Increase survivors’ access to accurate forensic information: hotline/website

Boston Medical Center Domestic Violence Program
Multi-lingual direct advocacy services

De Novo 
Legal services

Elizabeth Freeman Center, Inc.
Trauma informed services for homeless/battered victims

Independence House, Inc.
Crisis intervention, safety planning, advocacy, group and individual counseling

Pathways for Change, Inc.
Direct services to survivors of sexual violence who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and deaf/blind

High-risk team coordinator

RIA House, Inc.
Services for sexually trafficked victims

Safe Passage, Inc. 
Counseling, advocacy, and legal assistance for Latina/immigrant survivors

Direct services to survivors of domestic violence who traditionally face barriers to receiving services
Victim Services
Category Total

All Categories
Total Amount to be Awarded

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