Editor’s note: The following is a press release from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Bloom has republished it here with minor edits for style and clarity.
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) awarded more than $3 million in STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant funds to 53 projects across Indiana.
The goal of the program is to encourage partnerships between law enforcement, prosecution, courts and victim-serving organizations to enhance victim safety and hold offenders accountable in cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
In Monroe County, $100,643 worth of grant money was awarded to the Prosecutor’s Office to support the Special Victims Unit, which was created in July 2019 and retains two deputy prosecuting attorneys who handle sex crimes and domestic violence cases.
“This funding is centered on giving survivors a voice and making sure that the people who commit these terrible acts of violence are brought to justice,” says Devon McDonald, ICJI executive director. “Every project is a step toward building stronger, safer communities for Hoosiers.”
Created by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, the STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) Formula Grant Program is funded by the Office on Violence Against Woman, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, and is administered by ICJI. As a formula grant, funding was allocated based on the following breakdown: 25 percent for law enforcement, 25 percent for prosecutors, 30 percent for victim services, and 5 percent for state and local courts, with the remaining 15 percent for discretionary distribution.
For this award, funds will be used to support a diverse range of local initiatives, such as paying for special prosecutors and investigators to process cases of domestic violence, training police officers to better identify situations involving violence against women and funding victim advocates to help survivors navigate the criminal justice system.
Several statewide projects are also being funded under organizations like the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault & Human Trafficking, and the Indiana Supreme Court.
“Our strategy is two-fold: We want to bring community partners together to help break the cycle of violence and strengthen support for survivors in Indiana,” says Kim Lambert, ICJI Victim Services Division director. “Partnerships are critical when it comes to addressing issues like domestic violence and sexual assault.”
Although the projects were approved by the ICJI Board of Trustees in June, federal authorization was recently granted to award the funds. Organizations can begin executing their projects starting on October 1.