The federal Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women has awarded Rockdale County a $100,658 grant as part of the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative (DVHP Initiative) to reduce homicides caused by domestic violence.
Rockdale County's application was one of 12 selected as demonstration sites nationwisde to receive the funds. The county is the only awardee in Georgia.
The first-ever $2.3 million initiative will partner with the National Institute of Justice to vigorously evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the effort.
State Court Judge Nancy Bills said she always believed that a primary purpose of the Rockdale County Task Force Against Family Violence is homicide prevention.
"The broader mission of the Task Force is to end family violence in Rockdale County through a coordinated community response," she said. "However, the more immediate goal is to create a network that can identify and address high-risk situations before they escalate to homicide."
U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder announced the 12 sites, which will receive 12-month awards ranging from $100,658-$200,000, at a recent press conference in Maryland. Attorney General Holder told the crowd of law enforcement and domestic violence prevention advocates that the initiative goes beyond traditional enforcement efforts because it evaluates prevention models and then develops improved models to be used in more communities.
If, after the first year, the project produces effective strategies and models, Rockdale County will become eligible for additional funding for an implementation phase. Technical assistance will be provided to the 12 awardees.
"This grant is evidence of the forward thinking, collaboration and hard work the Task Force has been providing citizens for the last five years," Judge Bills said.
This success allowed for the creation of a successful partnership with the Georgia Coalition on Domestic Violence and Dr. Mary Finn, of Georgia State University, to seek ways to enhance services for victims and improve monitoring for high-risk offenders, she said.
Judge Bills said the aim of this grant is to assess how our community monitors high-risk offenders and to identify victims who may be in a potentially fatal, abusive relationship and whether they are connected to law enforcement and service providers.
However, she said the initiative is not solely focused on law enforcement, but also on prosecution, courts, health-care providers, family violence programs, and other providers who may interact with a victim.
More information about the Rockdale Task Force Against Family Violence, as well as general information about family violence, can be found at www.rockdaleaware.com.