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Grant to help domestic violence efforts in Merced County

POSTED November 6, 2009 6:23 p.m.
A federal grant of $300,000 aimed at curbing domestic violence and increasing victim services has been awarded to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.
The grant is authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is supported by the federal Violence Against Women Act which encourages the development and strengthening of criminal justice partnerships.
“We are all grateful for this infusion of federal money that will literally help us protect the safety of the most vulnerable among us and provide comfort and assistance to those who have been victimized by violent crime,” said Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II.
The program will create a partnership between the district attorney’s office and the Valley Crisis Center, which began serving domestic violence victims last year when A Woman’s Place in Merced closed.
“Meaningful collaboration is the key to ensuring victims’ safety and to promote offender accountability,” said Genevieve Bardini, program manager for the Valley Crisis Center.
The partnership will allow both organizations the opportunity to provide more crisis intervention, emergency services, advocacy, courtroom support, and related assistance for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Lisa DeSantis, victim witness coordinator for the district attorney, said violence against women “remains a major problem in Merced County and we need to see these crimes as a community issue that we all have a stake in solving.”
The money from the grant will be used to add three staff members to the Victim Witness Assistance Program and two advocates to the Valley Crisis Center, said Jeannette Pacheco, administrative services director for the district attorney and author of the grant.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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