Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today that the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) would receive a two Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants--including $1 million to support a program that fights domestic violence in rural areas of Maine.
"Child abuse and domestic violence often go hand in hand, but agencies aren't always set up to deal with both problems at the same time. This grant supports a program that coordinates advocates who work on these two different issues so they can make plans for the safety of the entire family. It's no stretch to say that the program has already saved lives," said Pingree. "I'm proud that the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence has secured this very competitive funding so it can continue this crucial work. It's especially important for rural Maine, where there are fewer resources and tighter budgets."
For the last six years, MCEDV has coordinated a program that places domestic violence advocates in the state's child protective service units. Advocates help identify households where aggressors are committing violence both to children and partners. In these cases, they develop and help execute a plan for all the victims, which may include stays in shelters, protection from abuse orders, and intervention by law enforcement.
The VAWA grant will support the program for another three years. MCEDV is also receiving a second VAWA grant of $80,308 to support other aspects of the coalition's victim service work.
"The success of these programs is yet more evidence that VAWA should be reauthorized and strengthened as soon as possible," said Pingree. "Any way you try to spin it, denying battered mothers the resources they need to ensure the safety of themselves and their children is unacceptable. I can't believe this is even an object of debate."
Legislation to reauthorize VAWA is currently at a standstill. The Senate passed a strong version with bipartisan support, but the House Republican majority supportslegislation that fails to include protections for all women regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or immigration status. Talks to reconcile the different versions of the bill have stalled.