Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $900,000 in federal funding to help prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in Erie County. The funding was allocated through the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women’s Improving Criminal Justice Responses (ICJR) Program. Erie County, in collaboration with its non-profit, non-governmental victim service partners Haven House and the International Institute of Buffalo, will use this ICJR grant award to expand its Domestic Violence High Risk Team(HRT), which helps law enforcement and victim advocates identify the most dangerous domestic violence cases and mitigate the danger.
“This federal funding will provide invaluable services to the residents of Erie County who have been victims of domestic violence and abuse, as well as help the County prevent future incidents. We must send an unequivocal message that domestic violence and violence against women will not be tolerated,” said Senator Schumer. “I am pleased that the Department of Justice has provided this funding to Erie County, who will work hand-in-hand with the Haven House and the International Institute of Buffalo, and will continue fighting to ensure that victims of domestic violence have the services they need.”
“Domestic violence is a devastating problem that we must do everything we can to prevent. With this critical funding, Erie County will be able to better identify high-risk domestic violence cases, train officials to better respond to domestic violence incidents, and expand help for survivors,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our communities need to be ready and able to support domestic violence victims as they seek assistance, and I will always do everything I can to make sure they have the resources they need to do that.”
“I am committed to aggressively prosecuting these offenders, but I also want to ensure that the victims of domestic violence feel safe. Many victims, especially those in the immigrant community, are afraid to come forward about the abuses they have endured at the hands of spouse or loved one,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn. “I want to thank the U.S. Department of Justice for providing us with this funding that will allow us to enhance our Domestic Violence High Risk Team, a collaboration of government agencies and victim service providers tasked with assisting the most vulnerable DV victims in Erie County. In addition, this grant will allow us to train prosecutors and our partners in law enforcement to ensure that offenders are held accountable for their actions.”
Specifically, Erie County’s violence against women project would do the following:
- Incorporate five high risk teams from different jurisdictions into the County-wide High Risk Team.
- Strengthen advocacy and services for domestic violence victims, with an emphasis on immigrants.
- Implement vertical prosecution.
- Designate two to four probation officers to use evidence-based practices to supervise domestic violence probationers.
- Train police, prosecutors, probation officers, and the judiciary on best practices to ensure offender accountability and victim safety in cases involving domestic violence, with an emphasis on immigrant victims.
The Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Grant Program implements certain provisions of the Violence Against Women Act, which was enacted in September 1994 as Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, and reauthorized in 2000, 2005, and 2013. The program enhances victim safety and offender accountability in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking by encouraging jurisdictions to work collaboratively with community partners to identify problems and share ideas that will result in effective responses to these crimes.