The New Hampshire Department of Justice will receive $1,019,815 to support programs that aid domestic violence victims and help law enforcement catch and convict rapists, announced U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today. The grant is made possible by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has expired and must be reauthorized before money for grants such as this one run out.
"During and following a domestic violence incident, victims and their families are incredibly vulnerable. It is crucial to have well-trained specialists to support victims and to prepare them for court. That's exactly what this funding does," Shaheen said. "I've spoken with victims and anti-violence advocates throughout New Hampshire and know that programs like STOP provide real, on-the-ground assistance for people in desperate situations. I urge Congress to pass a comprehensive version of the Violence Against Women Act so that these programs can continue."
"VAWA is a vital source of funding for domestic and sexual violence programs and services in New Hampshire, which save lives, protect children, strengthen and rebuild families, and prevent future violence," said Kim France, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. "The high prevalence of violence against women in our state has serious consequences that affect the well-being of our communities, and with funding like VAWA, we are able to continue our collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to addressing domestic and sexual violence in New Hampshire."
Today's grant comes from the Office on Violence Against Women through the Services Training Officers and Prosecutors (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program.
Some of the money will be allocated by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and used for two programs which have been operating in New Hampshire for over 15 years. Part will go towards training and supporting domestic violence specialists who advocate for the victim though the child protective services system.
The remaining funds will go to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, which helps nurses provide appropriate care for sexual assault victims from the moment they enter the hospital. The nurses are trained in sexual assault forensics so they can help collect the medical evidence needed to successfully prosecute rapists in court.
Senator Shaheen has repeatedly urged Congress to come together and pass a bipartisan VAWA bill that can go to the President for his signature into law. The Senate passed a bipartisan version of VAWA but the version passed by the U.S. House of Representatives strips out or weakens critical protections for immigrant victims, women on tribal lands, and students on college campuses.
VAWA's STOP Program encourages the development and implementation of effective, victim-centered law enforcement, prosecution, and court strategies to address violent crimes against women and the development and enhancement of victim services in those cases.