Monday, Oct. 4


Domestic violence and sexual assault victims support programs gain $18.9 million in government support     Send a link to a friend

[OCT. 4, 2004]  CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Justice has granted Illinois $18.9 million in federal funds to support services for crime victims.

This announcement comes as the governor proclaims October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, in partnership with Illinois Department of Human Services and Illinois Department of Labor, has undertaken a statewide campaign to heighten public awareness of the critical issue of domestic and sexual violence.

A $14.6 million grant will support the Victims of Crime Act in Illinois. This law was created to assist victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, child abuse and other groups identified by the state as underserved victims of crime.

"We are making a concerted effort to reach out to underserved victims in Illinois," said Gov. Blagojevich. "This funding will help us support programs that offer services to victims with special needs and in all regions of the state.

Service agencies receiving funding will provide victims with crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, emergency transportation, and court, medical and personal advocacy.

"Our goal is to continue to improve the well-being of crime victims across Illinois," said Lori G. Levin, executive director of Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. "We can do this by easing victimization and decreasing the chances of re-victimization."

Victims of Crime Act funding is drawn from the fines, penalty assessments and bond forfeitures collected from convicted federal offenders. Between July 1, 2002, and June 30, 2003, VOCA grants were disbursed to 139 victim service providers across Illinois, including the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault and organizations that support survivors of homicide victims, victims of drunk driving crashes and violent crime victims with special needs, such as people with disabilities and the elderly.

The state also was awarded $4.3 million to support the Violence Against Women Act. Funding under this law helps improve the criminal justice system's response to female victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

"This funding will allow us to continue to provide victim services to women in need, especially those living in areas where assistance is not easily accessible," said Gov. Blagojevich.

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The funding allocations under the Violence Against Women Act are as follows: 25 percent to law enforcement, 25 percent to prosecution, 30 percent to service providers and 5 percent to courts. The remaining 15 percent may be allocated at the state's discretion. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority relies on statistical data, surveys of the criminal justice and victim service agencies, and its own Ad Hoc Committee on Violence Against Women to recommend funding priorities for VAWA funding.

The ad hoc committee's funding priorities through June 2006 include:

  • Supporting services to women who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence by establishing satellite service sites in one or more counties and by extending services to victim groups who are underserved or unserved.
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating a plan for training police, prosecutors, judges, clerks, probation officers, and victim service and health care providers that reflects the unique information and skills necessary to promote an interdisciplinary approach to sexual assault and domestic violence. The plan shall identify training to be provided to all line staff as well as those who require more advanced training on responding to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Identifying and implementing measures that document and assess the response of criminal justice agencies in Illinois to sexual assault and domestic violence, including ways that promote the communication of information among criminal justice practitioners and service providers.
  • Providing support for efforts enabling the implementation of coordinated multidisciplinary responses to adult female sexual assault and domestic violence victims, including the adoption of protocols based on state or national models.

"The goal is to link law enforcement officials, states attorney's offices and advocacy groups so that victims receive the best possible service and offenders are held accountable," said Levin.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority disbursed VAWA funds to 85 programs across Illinois between July 1, 2002, and June 30, 2003, including transitional housing programs that provide services for victims of domestic violence.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority is the state agency designated by the governor to administer VOCA and VAWA funds awarded to Illinois by the U.S. Department of Justice.

[News release from the
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority]

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