County gets $500,000 grant for victims of violence

Douglas County is the recipient of a $500,000 federal grant to be used the next two years to enhance the safety of rural victims of domestic and dating violence, child abuse, sexual assault and stalking.

The award was announced Thursday by District Attorney Mark Jackson whose office applied for the grant with the county's Department of Alternative Sentencing, the Partnership of Community Resources and the Family Support Council.

Jackson said the grant, awarded through the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, will be used to support the Douglas County Special Victims Response Team.

"The district attorney's office will present the information to the Board of County Commissioners and will seek approval of hiring a special victims' investigator and an additional special victims' probation officer for the Department of Alternative Sentencing," Jackson said.

The district attorney's office will develop and implement a data collection system to track improvements related to the program, he said.

Funds from the grant will:

-- Improve the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and stalking in Douglas County;

-- Strengthen supervision of pre-trial defendants and probationers of these crimes, protecting the victims through court proceedings;

-- Continue to offer victims' services through resources available through the Family Support Council and the sheriff's office domestic violence intervention coordinator.

Jackson said the Special Victims Response Team members will receive additional training on victims' rights and services.

The Rural Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Child Abuse Enforcement Assistance Program enhances victim safety by encouraging partnerships between criminal justice agencies, victim service providers and community organizations to respond to these crimes, Jackson said.

The program supports services to the victims and encourages communities to work in coordination to develop education and prevention strategies directed toward these issues, he said.


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