DOJ Awards $59 Million For Domestic Violence Programs

By Alison Knezevich | September 11, 2023, 3:55 PM EDT ·

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded nearly $58.9 million in grants to support survivors of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, the agency announced.

The Office on Violence Against Women funding aims to increase access to legal representation, improve coordination in the justice system and help survivors navigate courts, the agency said. Recipients include a variety of legal assistance groups and other nonprofit organizations, local governments and court systems, according to information released Friday by the agency.

"Access to legal assistance is a lifeline for survivors of gender-based violence," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement. "Survivors must be able to access services and support that provide a pathway to safety and justice."

Rosemarie Hidalgo, director of the Office On Violence Against Women, said the grants "enhance court-related programs, trauma-informed training and resources, while also providing victims with specialized legal support," such as help securing protective orders and navigating complicated family law matters.

"Collectively, these grants advance a more comprehensive approach, aimed at ensuring that survivors and their families don't merely navigate our legal system, but genuinely find a path to justice and safety," Hidalgo said in a statement.

The bulk of the funds — nearly $40 million — was awarded to 55 grantees under the Legal Assistance for Victims Program, which is intended to increase the availability of civil and criminal assistance, according to the DOJ announcement. Another $3.2 million went to a related program to support the development of new legal services.

An additional $15.3 million was awarded to 25 projects under the Justice for Families Program, which seeks to improve the justice system's response to families affected by violence and abuse by supporting training for those who work in the courts, supervised visitation and safe exchange programs for parents, and other resources.

The grants also included $750,000 under the domestic violence mentor court technical assistance initiative, which is designed to help specialized courts guide other court systems seeking to improve their response to domestic violence "and ensure victim safety and offender accountability," the DOJ statement said.

The Office on Violence Against Women administers grant programs authorized by the federal Violence Against Women Act and other legislation.

--Editing by Roy LeBlanc.

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