Press Release

Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Engel Fight To Save Spring Valley Domestic Violence Justice Court Grant

Nov 16, 2009

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Eliot Engel have joined together
to urge the Office on Violence Against Women (OVAW) to renew the U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ) grant to help fund the highly-successful Spring
Valley Domestic Violence Justice Court.

An initial review was performed at a time
when there was still a substantial amount of funding in the program’s account
and it was incorrectly assumed that the Domestic Violence Justice Court did not
need the level of funding it had been receiving.  However, at closer
inspection, almost four-fifths of that balance was already allotted making the
criticism an incorrect assessment of the program.

“It is critical that we ensure victims of domestic violence have a safe
place to go and receive the support they need,” Senator Gillibrand said.
“The Spring Valley Domestic Violence Justice Court relies on federal
funding to crack down on dangerous criminals hurting women and families as well
as keeping more families and individuals in safe homes, protecting them from
dangerous, abusive environments, and providing care for their children.  I
will continue working with Congressman Engel to ensure the Spring Valley
Domestic Violence Justice Court maintains its funding to keep our families

“Hundreds of Rockland families per year are helped in dealing with the
emotional and physical consequences of domestic violence.  Needless to
say, the lives saved or enhanced has been immeasurable, and with the trend
towards increased domestic violence occurrences in times of economic stress,
the need to keep a fully-funded Domestic Violence Justice Court may never be
greater,” said Rep. Engel.  “Working with Senator Gillibrand, I
will continue fighting to keep the flow of funds going to the court for as long
as the deem it necessary.”

“We are fortunate that the U.S.
Department of Justice has committed itself to fighting domestic violence at all
levels.  As Justice-elect, I appreciate the long-term investment that
DOJ has made to local courts and the various initiatives that support
the public. Domestic violence is a serious problem that threatens the
well-being, safety, and liberty of every community.  I appreciate the
advocacy work that Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Engel have done on our
behalf.  Working together, we can continue to provide much needed support
to our community,” said Spring Valley Justice-Elect David Fried.

During the last two funding cycles of the grant program (the Grant to
Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders), the agencies
involved have been able to maintain a domestic violence hotline, support
groups, an emergency shelter, children’s services, and community commitment
services to end domestic violence.   The Domestic Violence Justice
Court has been helping victims cope with and recover from domestic violence
since 1995.   Along with partnering
agencies, they annually serve 550 domestic violence victims.

Rep. Engel added, “I applaud the work done by the Spring Valley
Domestic Violence Justice Court in helping people in great need.  I will
continue to fight with my Senate colleague to keep this program alive by not
only reinstating this grant but in searching for other funding streams to keep
the doors open now and for years to come.”