On Wednesday, March 13th, in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden (pictured center) and U.S. Department of Justice chief Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured left) announced a series of programs that seek to curb instances of domestic violence.
Coming on the heels of President Barack Obama‘s signing of the expanded Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) last week, these new programs address a troubling trend. National averages show that at least three women die a day from incidents related to domestic violence. The new Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative (DVHP Initiative) gives assistance to states that hope to reverse those numbers.
The DVHP Initiative, launched by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), will offer grants to 12 cities and counties and create state and local programs focusing on identifying victims and monitoring the actions of high-risk and repeat offenders. The states of Maryland and Massachusetts previously implemented a similar strategy, and the DVHP Initiative is modeled after those plans.
Vice President Biden on the DVHP Initiative:
Every single day in America, three women die at the hands of their boyfriend, or their husband, or their ex-husband. Many of these women have been threatened or severely abused in the past. We know what risk factors put someone in greater danger of being killed by the person they love – and that also means we have the opportunity to step in and try to prevent these murders. That’s why these grants are so important. They’ll help stop violence before it turns deadly.
Attorney General Holder added comments on the DVHP Initiative as well:
Domestic violence is a devastating crime – and it claims far too many lives each and every day. With today’s grant announcement, we are strengthening our ability to fight back more effectively – and aggressively – than ever before. And we’re supporting the kinds of evidence-based domestic violence homicide prevention models that will allow us to reliably predict potentially lethal behavior, take steps to stop the escalation of violence and save lives.
A key component of the DVHP Initiative is how state and local law enforcement officials will partner with prosecutors, courts, and various service providers to aid in the protection of victims and their families. The OVM will use the DVHP Initiative to set up a series of 12 demonstration sites to provide training and assistance.
The President’s initiative on domestic violence will be of particular importance in African-American communities. Why? African-American women and other women of color face domestic violence at a disproportionate rate compared to Whites. The National Violence Against Women Survey highlighted that African-American and Native American/Alaskan Indian women and men had more reports of domestic violence incidents than any other community.
More to the point, a Tufts University study from 2002 shows that the No. 1 killer of African-American females aged 15 to 34 is homicide by a former or current intimate partner.
The areas that will receive one-year grant awards ranging from $100,658 to $200,000, are: Contra Costa County, Calif.; Miami-Dade County, Fla.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Rockdale County, Ga.; Winnebago County, Ill.; Boston, Mass.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Westchester County, N.Y.; Pitt County, N.C.; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; North Charleston, S.C.; and Rutland, Vt. After 12 months of evaluation, a potential six of the sites will be selected to continue a three-year implementation phase.