Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Public Safety Secretary Dan Bennett today announced more than $2.8 million in grant funding to help 39 community-based organizations and local and college campus police departments develop and strengthen prosecution strategies and victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women.\n\nThe grants were made possible through the Violence Against Women Act\u2019s (VAWA) Services Training Officers Prosecutors (VAWA STOP) Program administered by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security\u2019s Office of Grants and Research.\n\n\u201cThe Violence Against Women Act allows for collaborative approaches between community-based agencies, municipalities, and state agencies to address the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking,\u201d\u00a0said Governor Charlie Baker. \u201cThese grants are critical to develop and strengthen law enforcement, prosecution, and victim services in cases of violent crimes against women.\u201d\n\n\u201cThe VAWA grants are an opportunity to offer support for our community based agencies, police departments and state agencies that provide critical services for victims of domestic and sexual violence across the Commonwealth,\u201d\u00a0said Lt. Governor Polito\u200b, chair of the Governor\u0027s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. \u201cThrough the diligent efforts of those receiving grants today and many other community partners, we aim to make Massachusetts a safer state to live in for all women.\u201d\n\nIn April 2015, Governor Baker signed Executive Order 563, re-launching the Governor\u2019s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Over the last year, the Council\u2019s priorities have included analyzing and reporting on the implementation of Chapter 260: An Act Relative to Domestic Violence. Last fall, a report was issued providing updates on each of the 49 actionable provisions within the law.\n\nThe Council today announced its priorities for the upcoming year and the future with the launch of work groups in five priority areas identified by the Council and the administration. Each group has established year one deliverables and will report back to the Council on their program next summer.\n\nThe work groups include:\n\nResponse and Assessment: to develop recommendations for improving the Commonwealth\u2019s identification and response to domestic violence high risk cases;\n\nHousing Stability and Self Sufficiency:\u00a0to cultivate housing stability and homeless prevention strategies for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence;\n\nHuman Trafficking: Children: to design and initiate the development of a standard, best practice model for identifying and responding to child trafficked victims, with year one specifically focused on the sexual exploitation of children;\n\nPrevention Education Early Ed through Campus: to provide recommendations to the Administration on how to build a program focused on promoting healthy relationships through education and the prevention of harassment, stalking, dating and sexual violence for Massachusetts youth starting in pre-kindergarten and continuing through college;\n\nVeteran/Military Families:\u00a0to develop collaborations amongst military, sexual assault and domestic violence resources to increase accessibility of appropriate supports for veterans and military families.\n\n\u201cWe are pleased to provide these awards to agencies that have demonstrated expertise in their respective program areas of victim services, prosecution, law enforcement and the court system across the Commonwealth,\u201d\u00a0said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Dan Bennett. \u201cWe look forward to continuing this strong partnership to advance the critical missions that these organizations fulfill.\u201d \u00a0\n\n\u0022VAWA funds are what fuels accessible services for survivors of crime in the community. Anyone impacted by a crime\u2014survivors, significant others, service providers, and the community in general\u2014deserve access to comprehensive services, resources, and information,\u201d\u00a0said Katia Santiago-Taylor, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC). \u201cAt BARCC, the VAWA funds have helped us form a multidisciplinary approach to provide accurate information to sexual assault survivors and their families statewide called Access to Forensic Information. VAWA funds have made cross-disciplinary services like the AFI and many others possible. \u0022\n\nThe Violence Against Women Act was passed by Congress in 1994 and marked a turning point in the federal recognition of the extent and seriousness of violence against women, and solidified a commitment by the government to address the problem by providing federal resources for the issue. Over the last three years, nearly $8 million in VAWA funds have been granted statewide to support domestic and sexual assault victims and their families.