Press Release

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

For immediate release:
  • Office of Grants and Research
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

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

Elaine Driscoll, Director of Communications and Policy

WorcesterToday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the award of nearly $3 million in grant funding 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, administered by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research (OGR), aims to strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault while enhancing services for survivors.

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced the awards today alongside Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., and several grant recipients at the Worcester District Court, where VAWA STOP grants support a dedicated domestic violence prosecutor and a survivor-witness advocate team.  

“The VAWA STOP Grant program has an important role in our Administration’s strategy to confront gender-based violence and empower domestic violence and sexual assault survivors,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are grateful to our partners in law enforcement, the judicial system and survivor services who work tirelessly to promote justice and provide support for survivors.”

Every awardee has an essential role in protecting the safety and well-being of at-risk women and girls,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. “Our administration is pleased to support their mission and ensure their access to the resources necessary for their vital work.”

“VAWA grant funding has increased resources and strengthened training for law enforcement and the judicial system, improving our capacity to prevent and respond to violence against women. These grant awards also help survivor service providers to expand compassionate treatment for all survivors, including those from underserved communities,” said Secretary Reidy.

“The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office is committed to working closely with our many partners to combat all forms of violence against women by securing justice for survivors, holding offenders accountable and empowering survivors on their path to healing,” said District Attorney Early. “I am thankful for this funding and am committed to maximizing the use of federal and state resources in furtherance of our shared mission to end gender-based violence.”

“VAWA STOP grant funding has assisted Assumption University in providing critical prevention and trauma-response resources to women impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault. The grant has also strengthened Assumption’s strong collaboration with Pathway’s for Change, enabling specialized services for some of our most vulnerable victims during a time of great need,” said Lt. Rebecca Gagne, Deputy Director of Operations at Assumption University.

“The VAWA STOP Grant award has enabled Pathways for Change, Inc., to provide direct services to some of our most vulnerable and underserved victims, including those who are deaf, hard of hearing and blind. This funding has increased our capacity to provide deserved support for survivors with unique needs as they work toward healing,” said Marienelly Vazquez, Campus Advocate for Pathways of Change, Inc.

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. It also solidified a commitment by the government to address the problem by providing federal resources.

Over the last five years, $15.3 million in VAWA funds have been granted statewide to support domestic and sexual assault survivors and their families.

The VAWA STOP Grant is a vital resource that supports various 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 survivor service providers;
  • Partnerships between law enforcement and survivor service providers to provide compassionate outreach to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking; and
  • Supporting prosecutors working closely with survivor-witness advocates, probation, law enforcement and state agencies to target high-risk cases and increase offender accountability.

In 2017, OGR awarded VAWA STOP grants through a competitive process. Grant recipients were then eligible for continuation funding through 2020. Due to considerations related to COVID-19, the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women  authorized an additional year of continued funding in 2021 for each organization.

Below is the list of 2021 VAWA STOP recipients.

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 Police Department



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




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 University Police Department



Partnership between PD and Pathways for Change sexual assault advocate


Boston Police Department


Civilian police advocate


Fitchburg Police Department


Civilian police advocate


Hampden County Sheriff



Direct services for incarcerated victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking


MA Department of Correction



Direct services for incarcerated victims of sexual assault


MA Department of Public Health


SANE forensic nursing services


Mashpee Police Department


Civilian police advocate


Pittsfield Police Department


Partnership between PD and Elizabeth Freeman Center advocate


Worcester Police Department



Partnership between PD and YWCA


Yarmouth Police Department



Partnership between PD and Independence House advocate


Cambridge Police Department


Training for a trauma-informed police response

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


Alianza -Womanshelter/Compañeras



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

Victim Services

Category Total







Total Funds





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

Office of Grants and Research 

The Office of Grants and Research oversees the distribution and administration of grants, and conducts research, related to criminal justice, anti-drug and violence prevention education, law enforcement and traffic safety. The Office is divided into four divisions: Justice and Prevention, Highway Safety, Homeland Security and Research and Policy Analysis, which maintains the Massachusetts Statistical Analysis Center.

Executive Office of Public Safety and Security 

EOPSS is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards which aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth.