Leahy: Vermont Nets $1.6 Million To Combat Domestic and Sexual Violence

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday announced $1.6 million in federal grants from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to combat domestic and sexual violence in Vermont. Leahy, long a champion in the fight against domestic violence, last year led the effort to reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which won overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

Leahy said, “I often remember my time as a State’s Attorney in Vermont and the tragedy of domestic violence that I witnessed.  We have come a long way since those days when we had almost no resources to help survivors find safety and rebuild their lives, but we all know that we still have more work to do. These grants will fund essential programs in Vermont, and I am particularly pleased that they will be used to increase access in rural areas and reach LGBT survivors. A victim, is a victim, is a victim and expanding the reach of these programs was a major accomplishment in our reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act last year. Every one of these survivors deserves our help.   As a husband, a father and a grandfather I know we can and must to do better to help keep these crimes from damaging more lives, and these grants will help us do that.”

The Vermont Center for Crime Victims Services and the organization Have Justice Will Travel (HJWT) will receive two grants totaling $1,641,003 from the Office of Violence Against Women’s FY 14 Rural Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Program.  

  • $1.3 million grant to the Vermont Center for Crime Victims Services to increase access to specialized services, LGBT programs and outreach education, among other initiatives.
  • $341,003 to Have Justice Will Travel, Inc. grant to provide legal representation to victims of domestic violence and work with victims to obtain advocacy services, among other initiatives.

Judith Rex, Executive Director of Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services, said, "Without this grant, abused women and their children living in five of the most rural counties in Vermont would not have adequate access to supports and services they need This type of collaboration between the Department for Children and Families, the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and four community-based domestic and sexual violence programs provides for a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to responding to cases involving domestic and sexual violence and child abuse."

John Lamson of Have Justice Will Travel said, “It is important that low-income families have access to legal services to shine a light on issues such as these that are underreported and often left out of public discussion because of their sensitive nature.  The recent high-profile cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence in Vermont demonstrate the for organizations like HJWT to keep pressure on public and private officials, law enforcement, and the public to act swiftly and sternly in response to these serious crimes.”

Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the senior most member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has long championed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was first enacted in 1994 to provide a comprehensive approach to reducing domestic and sexual violence against women.  The Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which President Obama signed into law last year, renews VAWA’s charter for another five years and includes new and vital protections for all victims of domestic violence, strengthening protections for tribal victims, immigrant victims, LGBT victims, and those on college campuses. 

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