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STATEWIDE — For over a decade, putting a stop to violence against women has been the name of the game for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program. This year’s grant is worth three-million-dollars.

Executive Director Devon McDonald says the overall goal is to combat certain crimes against women, such as “domestic violence, dating violence, or intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking.”

The money goes to over 30 counties across Indiana. The three-million-dollars is divided up, with tens-of-thousands going to dozens of small police departments, county prosecutor offices, victim resource organizations and local court systems. In its ten-year history with the program, McDonald says the ICJI has funded hundreds of organizations, and some multiple times over. The money is received from the United States Department of Justice through the Office on Violence Against Women.

“Victim advocates, domestic violence prosecutors, training for law enforcement, court personal specifically related to domestic violence and sexual assault,” McDonald continues, “legal advocacy for victims, counseling for victims, and legal intervention services for victims as well.”

McDonald says the long-term goal of the funding program is breaking the cycle the violence by bringing repeat offenders to justice and building support systems for victims. McDonald gave one example of how the money impacted one county prosecutor’s office in Indiana.

“So, we did have a prosecutor’s office who had very few prosecutors, and eventually just the elected prosecutor. With this type of funding, we were able to fund another position, a part time position. And in that particular county, there was an increase in the number of cases brought to justice and the number of filings for those particular crimes. It definitely had an impact.”

McDonald says that’s one small example of the kind of progress this program can have. It’s about cleaning up the streets of violent offenders and offering comfort and care to victims. He says these different programs and organizations are often the first point of contact for victims after they’ve been assaulted, for example. Without the funding, those first points of contact, that first line of defense, would be much weaker.

You can find a full list of this year’s grant recipients and the amount of money each received here.