Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards $3 Million in Violence Against Women Act Grant Funds

For immediate release:
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Governor's Press Office
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
  • Governor's Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $3 Million in Violence Against Women Act Grant Funds

Sarah Finlaw, Press Secretary, Governor's Office

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $3 Million in Violence Against Women Act Grant Funds

LAWRENCEThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced that it has awarded grants totaling more than $3 million to 37 community-based organizations, police departments and state agencies as part of the Violence Against Women Act, Services Training Officers Prosecutors (VAWA STOP) Grant Program. This program is administered by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research (OGR).

“Sexual assault, domestic violence and any form of violence against women have no place in our society,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants reflect our strong commitment to ending gender-based violence and supporting the organizations that work every day to help women and girls live in safety and peace.”

“Each one of these awardees has an essential role in protecting the lives and welfare of at-risk women and girls, and we are very pleased to be able to support the important work they do every day,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

“The strong partnerships that exist between law enforcement agencies and these community organizations provide that key network of support that helps us to prevent, identify, and respond to violent crimes against women,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Thomas Turco.

“Vital funding received through a VAWA grant allows RESPOND to bring its resources to those in need,” said Victoria Helberg, Law Enforcement Partnership Coordinator of Respond Inc. “As part of our Law Enforcement Partnership program, a domestic violence advocate is able to be on-site at the Malden District Court one day, each week to provide support for survivors. We recently heard from a former client who said, ‘If it wasn't for you getting my attention that day at court and giving me your card, I would have never known this program existed. I felt so hopeless then.”

“Our Homelessness Response Program addresses the overwhelming challenges of homelessness, housing instability and poverty faced by survivors working to escape and recover from violence. Because of VAWA funding, we are able to provide services to address immediate and short-term needs, individual and group transitional follow-up, and long-term financial stability,” said Janis Broderick, Executive Director of the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

“The VAWA STOP Grant Award has had a profound impact on the amount of services that the Yarmouth Police Department has been able to offer through our full-time Victim Advocate, who has reached out to more 1,000 victims over the past two years,” said Annie Catalano, Victim Services Specialist/Advocate for the Yarmouth Police Department. “The funding has also allowed our Special Victims Unit to receive and host trauma informed training that would never been possible otherwise.”

“VAWA STOP Grant program funding has enabled the Boston Police Department to reach some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence in Boston by directly supporting a Spanish-speaking civilian advocate who serves the East Boston and Jamaica Plain districts– two neighborhoods with high concentrations of Spanish-speaking and immigrant populations,” said Jenna Savage, Deputy Director of the Boston Police Department’s Office of Research & Development. “In 2019 alone, that advocate provided safety planning and advocacy within the criminal justice system to nearly 300 DV survivors – nearly half of whom identified as Hispanic/Latino – regardless of their immigration status, sexual orientation, or willingness to prosecute their batterer.”

The 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 four years, nearly $10 million in VAWA funds have been granted statewide to support domestic and sexual assault victims and their families.

The VAWA STOP grant is a vital resource that supports a variety of specialized and innovative projects throughout the Commonwealth. Some initiatives supported by these grant funds include:

  • Services specifically devoted to preventing, identifying, and responding to violent crimes against women;
  • Training opportunities for judiciary, court, and probation personnel, in addition to law enforcement and victim service providers;
  • Partnerships between law enforcement and victim service providers, to provide compassionate outreach to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking; and
  • Supporting prosecutors working closely with victim witness advocates, probation, law enforcement, and state agencies, to target high-risk cases and increase offender accountability.

Attached below is the list of 2019–2020 VAWA STOP recipients. Each organization received an increase total award amount for year three:

Funding Category


Recommended Award

Project Description


Administrative Office of the Trial Court



Training for judges, clerks of court, probation officers, and all other appropriate court personnel


Category Total








Adams PD


Partnership between PD and Elizabeth Freeman Center advocate


Asian Task Force


Legal and community-based advocacy services to LEP Pan-Asian immigrants and refugees


Bedford Police Department


Partnership between PD and Domestic Violence Services Network advocate


Behavioral Health


Civilian police advocate 


DOVE, Inc.


Civilian police advocates 


Jewish Family & Children’s Services

$35 ,759.87

Advocacy for Russian-speaking victims while conducting trainings for community partners and law enforcement


Martha’s Vineyard Community Services


Domestic violence victim response enhancement program 


Northeast Legal Aid, Inc.


Legal services


Our Deaf Survivors Center


Direct advocacy services to Deaf survivors


The Network/La Red


Outreach, education and training to improve systems and community responses to LGBQ/T survivors


Category Total







Law Enforcement

Assumption College PD


Partnership between PD and Pathways for Change sexual assault advocate


Boston PD


Civilian police advocate


Cambridge PD


Civilian police advocate


Fitchburg PD


Civilian police advocate


Hampden County Sheriff


Direct services for incarcerated victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking


MA Department of Corrections


Direct services for incarcerated victims of sexual assault


MA Department of Public Health


SANE forensic nursing services


Mashpee PD


Civilian police advocate


Pittsfield PD


Partnership between PD and Elizabeth Freeman Center advocate


Worcester PD


Partnership between PD and YWCA 


Yarmouth PD


Partnership between PD and Independence House advocate

Law Enforcement

Category Total








Bristol County DA


Domestic violence victim witness advocates


MA District Attorney’s Association


Statewide prosecutor training


Norfolk County DA


Specialized domestic violence/sexual assault prosecutors


Northwestern DA


Immediate law enforcement and advocacy response for victims


Worcester County DA


Specialized domestic violence prosecutor and victim witness advocate team


Category Total







Victim Services

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center


Increase survivors’ access to accurate forensic information: hotline/website


Boston Medical Center Domestic Violence Program


Multi-lingual direct advocacy services


De Novo  


Legal services


Elizabeth Freeman Center, Inc.


Trauma informed services for homeless/battered victims


Independence House, Inc.


Crisis intervention, safety planning, advocacy, group and individual counseling


Pathways for Change, Inc.


Direct services to survivors of sexual violence who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and deaf/blind




High-risk team coordinator


RIA House, Inc.


Services for sexually trafficked victims


Safe Passage, Inc. 


Counseling, advocacy, and legal assistance for Latina/immigrant survivors




Direct services to survivors of domestic violence who traditionally face barriers to receiving services

Victim Services

Category Total







All Categories 

Total Amount to be Awarded 




Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $3 Million in Violence Against Women Act Grant Funds

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito 

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