City receives nearly $1 million grant to increase domestic violence prevention efforts

As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month continues, the City of Minneapolis announced on Oct. 20 that it is the recipient of a Violence Against Women Act grant in the amount of $939,594, which will be used during the next two years to find new and innovative ways to help keep women safe from their abusers and to make offenders more accountable for their actions.

Fighting domestic violence is a top priority for the City, and this grant will expand the existing partnerships between law enforcement, the City Attorney’s Office, Hennepin County probation and domestic violence advocates to continue to improve the City's response to domestic violence incidents and prevention. With the additional funding, the City will be able to increase resources for police and prosecution and involve more community organizations to address violence against women among diverse and traditionally underserved populations

The plans include placing domestic abuse advocates in community based probation offices to serve as resources to victims. A list of repeat domestic violence offenders will be developed with individualized intervention plans to increase offender accountability and victim safety. The team will also be drafting a protocol for how to most effectively handle domestic violence cases, incorporating best practices developing during the grant period.

In 2008, the City Attorney’s Office and Police Department implemented a new evidence gathering protocol so that officers responding to misdemeanor domestic assault calls would gather more evidence at their initial response to the call, such as taking video taped statements using squad videos and collecting evidence to document the victim’s injuries. This additional evidence allows the City Attorney’s Office to proceed with prosecution even if the victim does not participate in the prosecution. The initial results from the implementation of this protocol have shown a significant increase in conviction rates and funding from the grant will allow this new protocol to be implemented throughout the entire City. Since 2005, the City's conviction rate on domestic violence cases has increased by over 30 percent.

The Minneapolis Police Department sought this funding, along with its partners, to develop a Coordinated Community Response Protocol Planning team. The team consists of the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, Hennepin County Community Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Domestic Abuse Project, Casa de Esperanza, and Asian Women United of Minnesota.

The City will begin using the grant in January 2010.

Oct. 20, 2009

Published Oct 20, 2009