Women’s resource center among local agencies to receive DOJ grant

Domestic assault shelters across the state including one in the New River Valley will benefit from an $83.3 million grant announced last week by the governor’s office.

The grants range from $47,000 to $900,000 with $814,113 going to the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley.

A total of 58 domestic violence and sexual assault shelters received monies through Department of Justice grants.

Pat Brown, the executive director for the Women’s Resource Center of the NRV (WRC), said they have been receiving parts of this grant for the past 20 years, but have seen an increase in the funding in both 2016 and 2017 from the Victims of Crime Act trust fund.

“This funding allows the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley to continue its programs and services for adult and child victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,” she said.

Last year, the WRC served 3,500 people.

None of this funding comes from taxes, only from federal crime fees.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said these grants will provide critical resources to strengthen the state’s criminal justice system’s ability to keep our communities and schools safe.

“Specifically, the funds will help communities respond effectively to crimes against women, help our juvenile justice system prevent delinquency, and provide treatment and advocacy for abused or neglected children. We’ve worked hard to make sure this funding reaches neighborhoods and communities all across the Commonwealth. I commend the Criminal Justice Services Board and the Department of Criminal Justice Services for their dedication to keeping our Commonwealth safe,” he said.

Other grant recipients include law enforcement agencies, local probation programs, and commonwealth’s attorneys’ offices for domestic violence and victim/witness programs.

In the New River Valley, those include Commonwealth Attorney’s offices in Radford ($126,873) and Montgomery County ($206,543) for Victim Witness funds. Montgomery also received $45,000 for Domestic Violence Victim Funding, while Virginia Tech received $24,782.

The secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran said these grants are a direct result of the constructive feedback and dialogue heard from stakeholder meetings and listening sessions held across the Commonwealth.

“My team and I look forward to working with all of the grant recipients as we pursue data-driven and evidence-based efforts in all areas of our criminal justice system,” he said.

Francine Ecker, Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), which administers these grants, added, “We are very fortunate that the General Assembly has provided substantial state funding for many of these grants. We are able to combine the state funds with available federal dollars to maximize the impact of these investments in our grant programs.”

The funding came from state appropriations and special funds, as well as from federal funds allocated to Virginia for justice system improvements.

Applicants for all of the grants approved were required to submit grant applications describing their projects and providing budgets showing how the funds will be spent.

DCJS administers nearly 1,000 grants annually totaling more than $250 million. They support programs and initiatives across the criminal justice system in Virginia. In addition to providing funding, DCJS also administers law enforcement training standards, conducts research and evaluations, provides technical assistance, offers training for criminal justice practitioners, and provides regulatory oversight to private security and related businesses.

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