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Biden awards $2.3 million in grants

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Published on: Thursday, March 14, 2013

By Holden Wilen

ROCKVILLE - Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder announced at the Montgomery County Executive Office Building in Rockville Wednesday morning the award of $2.3 million in grants to support the struggle against violence to women.

The grants are part of the new Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative, created by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, which will help state and local jurisdictions reduce domestic violence homicides by identifying potential victims and monitoring high-risk offenders.

“Every single day in America three women die at the hands of their boyfriend, or their husband, or their ex-husband,” Biden said. “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.”

Twelve demonstration sites will receive one-year awards through the grant ranging from $100,658 to $200,000. The sites are located throughout the country in places such as Boston, Mass., Contra Costa County, Calif., and Brooklyn, N.Y.

Governor Martin O’Malley was also present at the event, which spotlighted the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. The Justice Department’s initiative used the program as a model because it reduced Maryland’s domestic violence homicide rate by 34 percent the last five years.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) said Maryland is not immune to the problem, but the state’s program is making a difference in many peoples’ lives. In Maryland, in 2009, there were more than 18,500 reported cases of domestic abuse and 38 fatalities, Cardin said. This is the lowest number of domestic violence-related deaths on record for the state, he said, but the numbers are still unacceptable.

“I am proud that our state is a model for the nation, demonstrating to victims of domestic violence that there is a way out,” Cardin said. “They deserve our respect and love, not violence and fear.”

Molly Knipe, executive director for the Young Women’s Christian Association of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, attended the event and said the support from Biden and other elected officials is important because her group focuses on domestic violence and assault. The support helps the YWCA further its mission, she said, because funding from the government allows the organization to help women get protective orders, go to a safe-house or get counseling.

The announcement of the grants demonstrates an effort by the government to strengthen its ability to fight back against domestic violence more effectively and aggressively than ever before, said Attorney General Eric Holder.

“We’re supporting the kids of evidence-based domestic violence prevention models that will allow us to reliably predict potentially lethal behavior,” Holder said, “and to take steps to stop the escalation of violence and save lives.”

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