Slaughter announces $750,000 federal award for Monroe County

By on October 9, 2017

Funding used to implement the Violence Against Women Act

Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25) announced that Monroe County has been awarded a $750,000 federal award from the U.S. Department of Justice through the Improving Criminal Justice Responses Program. This program helps implement the Violence Against Women Act, a law Slaughter co-authored that has reduced cases of domestic violence by 67 percent since 1994.

The county will use this grant to work collaboratively with Willow Domestic Violence Center, Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Monroe County Probation, Rochester Police Department Domestic Abuse Response Team, RPD Victim’s Assistance, the Rochester/Monroe Domestic Violence Consortium and RESTORE Sexual Assault Services to increase victim safety and improve law enforcement response to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

“Helping write the Violence Against Women Act is among my proudest accomplishments in Congress,” Slaughter said. “Twenty-three years later, this law is continuing to reduce the number of cases of domestic violence and bring survivors out of the shadows. I’m proud to announce this major award for Monroe County so it can continue working with local partners and keep professionals on the job who are providing important legal resources and counseling services to survivors across our community.”

“This funding will save lives,” said Jaime Saunders, president & CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center. “This federal grant supports the essential backbone of services for survivors – from direct services to supporting the 50 plus members of the Rochester/Monroe County Domestic Violence Consortium. Today is a good day, as we can rest assured there will be no disruption to the critical life-saving services for domestic violence survivors in our community. We are grateful to our partners in government for recognizing the importance and the significance to help so many.”

The funding supports eight jobs and provides direct advocacy for 2,400 victims through Willow, RESTORE and the RPD Victims Assistance Unit to support victims through the court process and provide direct services. It ensures that 450 high-risk cases will be followed by the Rochester Police Department’s Domestic Abuse Response Team and provides civil legal assistance for 375 victims through the Legal Aid Society to obtain orders of protection. It provides intensive supervision of a static caseload of 50 offenders through probation.

Slaughter is an original author of the landmark VAWA law. In 2013, Slaughter was a major force in the expansion of VAWA to protect Native Americans and LGBT partners, and fully protect immigrant women under the law.

This law is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this October which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This law changed the culture with regard to domestic violence. Before VAWA, domestic violence was a private matter that was not discussed in the media or in the halls of Congress. The original debate around VAWA elevated public awareness, brought women out of the shadows and let survivors everywhere know they were not alone. As a result of that cultural shift, public pressure has mounted on institutions from universities to the U.S. Military to the National Football League to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.

Project partners include: the Monroe County Office of Probation – Community Corrections (Probation), which provides an intensive supervision probation officer to supervise high-risk probationers; the Rochester Police Department Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART), that provides targeted police work to high-risk domestic violence cases; the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, (LAS), that provides a civil attorney to represent victims seeking civil orders of protection; the RPD Victim Assistance Unit that provides a victim advocate to interface between victims and the court system; Willow Domestic Violence Center that provides an advocate to support and assist victims in pursuing orders of protection, and advocacy to ensure that victims are connected with appropriate support services, and Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York; RESTORE Sexual Assault Services that provides an advocate to assist victims of sexual assault with crisis intervention and support through the medical examination/evidence kit collection process and treatment, advocacy and support during interactions with law enforcement. The LAS also provides a part-time coordinator, who supports the activities of the Domestic Violence Consortium, including the implementation of the high risk protocols.

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