Leahy Announces $7.4 Million in Federal Funding To Support Victim Service Programs in Vermont
Grants Will Also Strengthen Domestic and Sexual Violence Response in Rural Communities
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has announced that Vermont organizations will receive 10 grants totaling more than $7.4 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to support crime victims and to strengthen services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
As a former prosecutor and as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy has long led efforts to protect funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the two federal programs that provide direct support to victims. Leahy also led the Senate in strengthening and reauthorizing VAWA in 2013 as the chief author and sponsor of that legislation, and in 2015 he helped raise the cap on the Crime Victims Fund so that states would be eligible for more funding.
“It is vitally important to continue to support those who are supporting victims. We have a highly effective network of organizations that serve thousands of Vermont residents every year, and we must ensure they have the tools they need to do their work,” Leahy said. “We know that half of all homicides in Vermont are related to domestic violence. This disturbing reality tears at the fabric of all our communities, from our urban centers to our most rural towns. That is why one of my highest priorities in renewing VAWA was to strengthen support for victims, especially in rural communities with access to few resources.”
Karen Tronsgard-Scott, executive director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said: “Survivors of domestic and sexual violence need the support of our communities. These grants create innovative approaches to providing these vitally important supports and will help survivors reconstruct their lives free from violence. We are grateful for Senator Leahy’s deep understanding of domestic and sexual violence and how it impacts survivors and communities in Vermont, and his stalwart support for these programs.”
Chris Fenno, executive director of the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services, said: “The criminal justice system can be overwhelming for a person who has experienced a robbery, an assault, rape or murder. These grants provide crucial victim services to over 25,000 individuals each year across the state of Vermont, and help make the experience less daunting on many levels. We appreciate Senator Leahy’s lifelong dedication to improving the justice system’s response for people whose lives have been impacted by crime.”
This additional funding comes on the heels of the Senate Appropriations Committee passing a Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill this summer that included $483.5 million for the Violence Against Women Act, a $2 million increase over FY17 levels. That bill included a $1 million increase for a Leahy-authored rural grants program that delivers funds specifically to rural states like Vermont. The appropriations bill also included an additional $1 million in Leahy-authored transitional housing grants, a program that awarded Burlington $349,454 in this round of grants.
FY 2017 U.S. Department of Justice Grants to Vermont:
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) - Eight grants totaling $3.35 million:
• Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont, Inc., Springfield: $395,029
This funding will enhance the training of police, prosecutors, and the judiciary to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse, mistreatment, violence, and assault of elderly victims.
• Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services (VCCVS), Waterbury: $372,649
The Sexual Assault Services Program grant provides states with formula funding to support rape crisis centers and other core services to victims of sexual assault throughout the state.
• Steps to End Domestic Violence, Burlington: $349,454
This transitional housing grant assists homeless victims of sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking by providing short-term housing options and emergency shelter, as well as case management, child care, and other support services to move clients towards securing permanent housing.
• Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, City of St. Albans and Voices Against Violence: $379,240
This funding will enhance the community justice response to domestic violence by strengthening partnerships between criminal justice agencies, victim service providers and community organizations in Franklin and Grand Isle counties.
• Have Justice – Will Travel (HJWT), Vershire: $359,281
With this award, HJWT and its project partners will provide direct legal services and assistance in accessing social services for victims in Bennington and Rutland counties.
• WISE, Windsor County: $490,382
This funding will increase capacity to more effectively serve residents of Windsor County, with an emphasis on the rural towns of Windsor, West Windsor, Weathersfield and Reading, focusing on victim services and coordinated response.
• Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services, Waterbury: $750,000
This funding will allow VCCVS to expand the Vermont Rural Grant project in areas of Washington and Lamoille counties, enhancing access to specialized services for victims.
• Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Montpelier: $239,126
This funding supports the state coalition’s efforts to coordinate victim services statewide and advance the goals of VAWA.
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA): Two grants totaling $4.1 million:
• Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services: $3.97 million
This funding represents Vermont’s allocation under the state victim assistance formula and is funded through the federal Crime Victims Fund, supported through federal fines and penalties rather than with taxpayer dollars. These funds enhance direct services to crime victims in Vermont and support victim advocates in every state’s attorney’s office throughout Vermont.
• Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services: $119,000
Additional funding for direct compensation payments to eligible crime victims.
David Carle: 202-224-3693
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