03.12.09

As Joblessness Rises, Leahy Announces More Than $1 Million In Economic Recovery Funds For Children And Crime Victims In Vermont

(THURSDAY, March 12) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday that Vermont will receive more than $1 million in federal grants to provide key services for victims of crime and to protect children against online predators.  Leahy secured the funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was signed into law Feb. 17.

Vermont will receive $541,000 in assistance programs to aid victims of crimes that include assault, fraud, elder abuse, domestic and sexual violence and child abuse – crimes that often rise when the economy sours and joblessness climbs.  The grants will help Vermont victims assistance providers in responding to emotional and physical needs of victims, assisting victims in stabilizing their lives, helping victims understand the justice system, and helping victims with safety and security.  Vermont will receive an additional $58,000 for victim compensation services that help crime victims with medical care, mental health counseling, lost wages and other costs. 

Vermont will receive more than $437,000 for the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program, which helps state and local law enforcement agencies effectively respond to cyber enticement and child pornography cases.  This funding can be used for forensic examinations, investigations and community education. 

Leahy said, “Serious cuts in funding to support assistance programs have left crime victims and children more vulnerable than ever before.  We must ensure that victims of crime do not also become victims of our struggling economy.” 

On March 3 Leahy announced that Vermont has received nearly $5 million in Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) under the economic recovery plan.  The JAG grants allow state and local governments to support a wide range of programs to prevent crime and improve the criminal justice system.  Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  During congressional negotiations on the stimulus package, Leahy led in supporting funding support for state and local law enforcement agencies and for crime victims’ services.  In a Judiciary Committee hearing January 8 chaired by Leahy, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling, who leads the ICAC task force in Vermont, and other witnesses testified about the importance of federal assistance to state and local law enforcement, especially during difficult economic times.

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