(Before It's News)
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced today that the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) have awarded a total of nine grants worth $9.4 million to various national and local organizations that will use the funding to implement the department’s Guidance on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.
The department’s guidance reflects input from a wide array of stakeholders and experts, including police leaders, victim advocates and civil rights advocates. The guidance intends to both examine how gender bias can undermine law enforcement’s response to sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as provide key principles to help ensure that gender bias does not impede efforts to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to incorporate the guidance into clear policies, comprehensive training and effective supervision protocols.
The nine grant awards announced today will provide enhanced training and technical assistance nationally, support research and evaluation and provide resources to law enforcement agencies to implement the guidance.
Technical Assistance Awards:
OVW award to International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), $599,742: IACP, in partnership with Futures Without Violence, will implement the Technical Assistance Initiative to Prevent Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. This project is designed to provide national technical assistance in order to build law enforcement capacity through trainings, highlighting promising practices and developing assessment tools and additional resources to assist local law enforcement agencies in implementing the guidance.
OVW award to Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), $599,983: PERF, in partnership with End Violence Against Women International and with the support of expert practitioners, will provide training and technical assistance to up to five law enforcement agencies and their partner advocacy organizations in implementing the principles identified in the department’s guidance. The project will also develop and disseminate a guidebook to help other law enforcement agencies implement the guidance.
OVC Demonstration Initiative Award to IACP, $5 million: With this award, IACP will lead the Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Victims Demonstration Initiative. The overall goal of this initiative is to build law enforcement’s capacity to develop sustainable strategies to address and eliminate the impact of gender bias on police response to, and investigation of, sexual and domestic violence; and implement agency-wide procedures that are trauma-informed and victim-centered. IACP, in collaboration with the National Crime Victims Law Institute and federal partners, will competitively select, provide oversight and manage awards for up to six demonstration sites to implement the department’s guidance and improve services to sexual assault and domestic violence victims, including underserved populations. The National Institute of Justice will assist in developing the evaluation plan and research model for the demonstration initiative.
OVW Research Award to Sam Houston State University, Texas, $393,049: The team will evaluate a training program based on the department’s guidance for all sworn law enforcement personnel in an urban police department.
OVW Improving Criminal Justice Response Awards: Five grantees under OVW’s Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Grant Program identified plans to integrate the principles outlined in the department’s guidance as part of the implementation of their grant project: the city of Salem, Massachusetts, $450,000; St. Louis County, Missouri, $750,000; the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, $450,000; the South Dakota Office of the Attorney General, $750,000; and Human Options, California, $450,000.
Attorney General Lynch made this announcement during a Town Hall at Howard University with youth and law enforcement on increasing diversity in policing and building trust, as part of National Community Policing Week, which President Obama designated as Oct. 2 through 8, 2016, in a proclamation issued on Friday, Sept. 30. The week is also an extension of the Attorney General’s 12-city Community Policing Tour that highlighted collaborative programs and policing practices designed to advance public safety, strengthen police-community relations and foster mutual trust and respect between law enforcement and citizens. National Community Policing Week builds on President Obama’s efforts [external link] to engage with law enforcement and other members of the community to implement key recommendations from the 21st Century Policing Task Force report. As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to building stronger relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve, the Department of Justice is leading nearly 400 events in support of community policing efforts around the country.