PRESS RELEASE – Pottsville, PA – On September 29, 2015, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright announced the awarding of a $450,000 Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders Program (Arrest Program) Grant from the Department of Justice for Schuylkill County.
The County, in collaboration with its non-profit, non-governmental victim service provider, Schuylkill Women in Crisis (SWiC), will use this new award to sustain project activities through the Increasing Victim Safety through Access to Justice and Offender Accountability project.
The project will:
- support a part-time assistant district attorney who will prosecute Protection from Abuse (PFA) violations and related criminal charges;
- support a PFA Probation Officer who will monitor abusers who have been convicted of crimes related to domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking;
- support a part-time Schuylkill County Deputy Sheriff who will ensure the service of PFA orders;
- support a full-time SWiC legal advocate who will accompany victims through the PFA process;
- and support a PFA attorney through SWiC who will handle up to 300 PFA cases and provide supervision to law students volunteering with the project.
“Protecting women from abusers and predators is an enormous priority, and this investment will help keep Schuylkill County families safe,” Rep. Cartwright said. “I am pleased such an important federal investment is being made and the county will have access to the support they need to help keep women, children, and families safe.”
The project is expected to last 36 months.
“Sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are serious crimes that require a robust criminal justice system response in coordination with community based organizations and victim service providers,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release. “This program challenges the whole community to work together to identify barriers and develop solutions that enhance victim safety and hold offenders accountable.”
The Arrest Program recognizes that sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are crimes that require the criminal justice system to hold offenders accountable for their actions through investigation, arrest, and prosecution of violent offenders and through close judicial scrutiny and management of offender behavior.
The Arrest Program is designed to encourage partnerships between state, local, and tribal governments, courts, victim service providers, coalitions and rape crisis centers, to ensure that sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are treated as serious violations of criminal law requiring the coordinated involvement of the entire criminal justice system and community-based victim service organizations. The Arrest Program challenges the community to work collaboratively to identify problems, and share ideas that will result in new responses to ensure victim safety and offender accountability.
Click HERE to view the press release.