08.21.09

Vermont Center For Crime Victim Services Gains $782,510 Grant From U.S. Department Of Justice

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday that the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services, based in Waterbury, will receive a $782,510 grant from the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice.

The funds come from the STOP (Services-Training-Officers-Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program, originally established in 1994 under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  On the Senate Judiciary Committee Leahy co-authored and helped steer through Congress legislation that reauthorized VAWA in 2006.   As chairman of the panel Leahy has remained committed to supporting state and local programs under VAWA.  The STOP grants provide funding to states for the development and improvement of effective, victim-centered partnerships among law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, the courts and victim advocacy groups, in order to improve victim safety and hold offenders accountable for their crimes against women and families.

“The Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services offers a comprehensive approach to helping crime victims, and these funds will strengthen that effort,” said Leahy.  “Crime victims throughout Vermont find comfort in knowing that VCCVS can continue to help to hold offenders accountable for their crimes, while also developing and strengthening victim services.”  

With the STOP Program grant, Vermont will allocate a minimum of 30 percent of the grant funds to nonprofit, nongovernmental victim services programs.  A minimum of 25 percent must be allocated each to law enforcement and prosecution efforts, and no less than five percent for use by the courts.  The remaining 15 percent may be awarded at the state’s discretion.  Since 2000, Vermont has received more than $7 million in STOP Program grants.

Leahy chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department and its anti-crime programs.  He has long been the leader in Congress in defending the Crime Victims Fund and supporting crime victims.  Earlier this summer Leahy introduced legislation to reauthorize the Victims of Crime Act, which provides essential services to victims of crime to ensure they become survivors and can move forward with their lives.  Leahy also reintroduced the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act this spring, which would improve existing law by making it easier for federal authorities to investigate and prosecute crimes based on race, color, religion, and national origin and would expand federal protections to include the problem of hate crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.  Leahy is also a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of its subcommittee that handles the Senate’s work in writing the annual budget bill for the Justice Department.

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