Cantwell Announces More Than $2 Million for Domestic Violence Prevention and Response in Washington State

WASHINGTON , D.C. – Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today announced a federal grant of over $2.3 million to Washington state communities to bolster law enforcement efforts to crack down on domestic violence and provide victims with the services they need.

"It is critical that law enforcement officials and counselors working to fight domestic violence in our communities get the resources they need," Cantwell said. "Domestic violence affects everyone, and we all need to work together to solve it."

A grant of $2,353,000 was awarded to the Washington State Department of Trade and Economic Development (CTED), through the STOP (Services, Training, Officers and Prosecutors) Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program. The STOP Program, a provision of the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 (VAWA), awards grants to states to improve the criminal justice system's investigation and prosecution of domestic violence crimes, and to make sure victims have access to counseling and support services.

These funds will be distributed by CTED to local law enforcement agencies and community programs.

Originally passed in 1994, VAWA stiffens penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders, provides resources for battered women to get services they need, and funds local law enforcement training programs. Funding for these important programs may soon dry up, though. Unless Congress passes legislation co-sponsored by Cantwell to renew VAWA, the programs will expire at the end of the year. "The Violence Against Women Act of 2005" was introduced earlier this month on June 8th.

Over 51,000 domestic violence-related arrests were made in Washington state in 2003. While over 25,000 Washington state adults and children were served by programs funded by VAWA in 2001, almost 33,000 other victims were turned away because there were not enough resources to help them.

"These unacceptable statistics show the need to commit more resources to fighting and preventing domestic violence," Cantwell said. Earlier this month, Cantwell met with survivors of domestic violence, local advocates, and law enforcement officials in Vancouver and Seattle to hear about services available to victims of domestic violence.

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