JOLIET –Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Will County Executive Larry Walsh announce that the federal government has awarded Will County an additional $750,000 to enable prosecutors, police and advocates to battle domestic violence.
The federal grant, which was written by State’s Attorney Glasgow’s office and applied for through County Executive Walsh’s office, brings the total amount of federal funding to prosecute domestic abusers and support victims in Will County to $1.5 million.
The project was launched in August 2006 with an initial grant of $750,000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. The additional $750,000 in funding will ensure the program continues through at least August 2010.
With these funds, Glasgow has enhanced his specialized Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit by hiring a prosecutor, investigator and a victim advocate to focus exclusively on domestic violence cases. Three additional victim advocates were hired through the grant, one each to work with partners at Groundwork and Lamb’s Fold Center for Women and Children, both of which provide services to abused women. The third works in partnership with the Will County Courts under the direction of Chief Judge Stephen White and provides advocacy for people who have been granted orders of protection.
The initial award in 2006 funded the Victim Independence Program (VIP)/Coordinated Community Response Team. The Victim Independence Program provides concentrated services and resources for domestic violence victims to enable them to follow through with the prosecution of their abusers. Glasgow in the early 1990s also pioneered Will County’s first specialized Domestic Violence Court, which mandated abuser counseling to break the destructive cycle of violence.
“I created the Victim Independence Program in 1999 to provide victims of domestic violence with the support network they need to empower them to cooperate with law enforcement throughout the prosecution of their abusers. I was gratified that the program was a critical component of our grant application and led to the initial award in 2006,” Glasgow said. “My hat goes off to our Director of Crime Prevention, Jenn Cain, for her top-notch work in writing and coordinating both of these grants, which are enabling us to protect abused women.”
Walsh recognized the importance of the collaborative approach and agreed to coordinate the grant-writing application process through the county executive’s office.
“The renewal of this grant is an affirmation by the federal government of the innovative potential of the Victim Independence Program and the successful work of the coordinated response to domestic violence that includes the State’s Attorneys Office, local police and social service agencies,” Walsh said.
Senator Dick Durbin said: “I congratulate Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and County Executive Larry Walsh and their staffs on the approval of their application for a federal grant to aid the county’s Domestic Violence Protection Unit. As a strong supporter of programs to help victims of domestic violence, I am heartened to see Will County’s strong commitment to assisting victims of this tragic crime.”
“Domestic violence cases are the most difficult to prosecute because the victims live under incessant emotional, financial and physical intimidation by their abusers while their cases are pending,” Glasgow said. “Through this grant, my team has increased the number of women who pursue the prosecution of their abusers by an estimated 20 to 25 percent. I am committed to developing innovative programs to ensure the safety of women in Will
The Coordinated Community Response Team combats domestic violence by joining together specially trained prosecutors, police officers, civil attorneys and victim’s advocates to comprehensively address the safety needs of victims and while enforcing offender accountability.
Grant funding also has been used for: law enforcement training on proper responses to domestic violence calls and violations of orders of protection; overtime for partnering police departments to more aggressively investigate order of protection violations; and digital cameras to photograph victims’ injuries.