Posted in Domestic Violence on January 10, 2013
A $300,000 federal grant, good for two years, will be used by the Vancouver, Washington Police Department and YWCA Vancouver to spend more time on domestic violence investigations and to assist victims.
The grant was accepted this week after a Vancouver City Council vote. The money is coming from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women and will be shared by the following groups: the Vancouver Police Department, which will get $158,087 for officer training and overtime for detectives working on domestic violence cases; the YWCA will receive $120, 224 to retain two bilingual advocates; and the state Department of Corrections will be given $25, 310 to investigate domestic violence cases involving offenders who are on community supervision. Vancouver Police Sgt. Andy Hamlin, who works out of the Domestic Violence Prosecution Center, wrote in a 2012 grant application that the past two years had been particularly severe, and shared the details of recent domestic violence cases. He wrote that, while some significant system-level improvements had been made to address high-risk cases, there were still thousands in the community living in crisis, and emergency calls, police reports, arrests, and misdemeanor and felony filings showed that domestic violence was still a very real problem.
Formed in 2005 by the city and county, the Domestic Violence Prosecution Center reviews around 3,200 to 3,500 cases per year. In 2011 the office filed 1,785 misdemeanor cases and 338 felony cases in a 25 percent increase from 2009.
It is hoped that the money from the grant will address some shortcomings, like the issue of overtime pay for detectives investigating serious cases. This will enable detectives to do more checks on victims and determine whether or not no-contact orders are being violated by abusers on release pending. The YWCA will be better equipped to help victims after hiring advocates who speak Russian and Spanish. The Vancouver police receive a large amount of calls from speakers of these languages and while they have translation services for 911 police response, information on victim safety planning, protection orders, programs, services and resources has had to be shared through translated printed materials rather than by person.
Source: The Columbian, “Grant targets domestic violence,” Stephanie Rice, January 8, 2013.