PA Gov. Ridge Administration Awards More Than $400,000 in Grants to Enhance Response to Rural Victims of Domestic Violence

Funds Will Enable Rural Counties to Better Reach Out to Victims of Spousal,

Child and Elder Abuse



Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- On behalf of Gov. Tom Ridge,
 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Chairman Tom Corbett
 today announced $404,551 in grants to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against
 Domestic Violence and six community-based victim-service agencies to better
 meet the needs of domestic-violence victims in rural communities.
     "Victims in rural areas face unique barriers in their struggle to end
 family violence," Corbett said.  "The geographic isolation makes it difficult
 for them to get to a safe place -- a domestic-violence shelter, hospital,
 police station or even the home of a friend or family member.  Our research
 has shown that many of these victims don't work or have a driver's license and
 so they may not have access to transportation."
     Corbett also said that rural families tend to have stronger social and
 cultural pressures that might discourage a victim from reaching out for help.
     The purpose of the grants, which come from the U.S. Justice Department's
 Violence Against Women Act Rural Domestic Violence Project, is to address and
 prevent domestic violence, dating violence and child victimization in rural
 Pennsylvania.
     Those receiving funds are:
       Agency                                         Amount
       PCADV                                         $125,000
 
       Victim Outreach Intervention Center
       Butler County                                 $63,310
 
       Community Action Inc. -- Crossroads
       Clearfield/Jefferson counties                 $50,000
 
       Schuylkill Women in Crisis
       Schuylkill County                             $73,910
 
       Sullivan County Victims Services              $25,000
 
       Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition
       Northumberland/Snyder/Union counties          $40,662
 
       Family Services Crisis Center
       Venango County                                $26,669
      Total                                          $404,551
 
     The six victim-service agencies in nine rural counties will use the funds
 to provide counseling, shelter and other programs to meet particular needs of
 victims.  Some will purchase vans to transport victims to medical and court
 appointments.  Others will help victims with moving and child-care expenses or
 work with community-based organizations like fire departments, churches and
 social-service agencies to better reach victims. One agency will develop a
 training video for law-enforcement officers.
     The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) will use its
 $125,000 grant to embark on a three-pronged approach to the problem of rural
 violence.  The organization will create and distribute a booklet that talks
 about domestic violence and places where victims can turn for help.  It also
 will conduct training programs for criminal justice practitioners, and will
 offer problem-solving and promising- practices forums for law-enforcement
 agencies and victim advocates.
     "The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence appreciates the
 opportunity -- and funding -- to address the unique challenges domestic-
 violence programs encounter in their efforts to offer meaningful assistance to
 battered women living in the rural communities of this Commonwealth," said
 PCADV Executive Director Susan Kelly-Dreiss.  "As the result of this grant,
 our programs will be able to expand their outreach efforts and be in a better
 position to secure safety and justice for rural battered women."
     In 1999, PCCD created a rural domestic-violence planning team to study the
 issue and determine strategies to address the needs of these victims.  The
 team was comprised of representatives from community-based domestic-violence
 programs, police departments, district attorneys, PCADV and PCCD staff.
     Through focus groups and interviews, the team gathered data from domestic-
 violence victims and survivors, police, prosecutors and victim advocates in
 eight rural counties -- Bedford, Indiana, Lawrence, Perry, Potter,
 Northumberland, Sullivan and Wayne.
     Last year, it issued a report, "Determining the Needs of Battered Women in
 Rural Pennsylvania," which identified issues and cited recommendations for
 addressing them.  Among the barriers that keep women from seeking help:
 affordable housing and child care, lack of transportation, and lack of
 education about domestic violence.  The study also revealed that police
 officers, prosecutors and domestic-violence advocates in rural counties need
 more resources and training.
     "We learned a lot of things during that study, including the fact that
 many victims thought violence was just a way of life for women.  And even
 those who recognized they were being abused said they didn't know what to do
 about it because they felt so isolated," Corbett said.  "One woman told us,
 `When you're on a farm at night, there's no one to hear you scream. And
 there's no where to go except out on a dark road.'"
     David Kerr, Director of the Pennsylvania Rural Development Council,
 commended the initiative.
     "Citizens living in rural areas are generally hard to reach for a variety
 of reasons, including less access to traditional media, a reluctance to listen
 to advice from outside their community, and the raw distance they live from
 one another," Kerr said.  "These grants will go a long way in supporting
 grassroots approaches to preventing and identifying domestic violence and
 reaching out to victims."
     The grants are yet another way that Pennsylvania, under Gov. Ridge's
 leadership, is working to enhance its response to crime victims.
     Last year, Pennsylvania was the only state to receive an "A" rating for
 enacting laws that improve the health-care response to victims of domestic
 violence, according to a state-by-state report card issued by the Family
 Violence Prevention Fund.
     Since 1995, the Ridge Administration has assisted victims of crime through
 legislative measures and advocacy, including:
     -- Creating the Office of the Victim Advocate to represent the rights and
 interests of crime victims before both the Department of Corrections and the
 Board of Probation and Parole;
     -- Establishing the Victims' Services Advisory Committee and putting crime
 victims and victims' advocates on the board;
     -- Appointing crime victims to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and
 Delinquency and the Pardons Board;
     -- Signing legislation that created the Bill of Rights for victims of
 juvenile crime;
     -- Establishing the Commonwealth's first statewide registry of protection-
 from-abuse orders;
     -- Requiring domestic-violence victims to be notified when their offender
 is released on bail;
     -- Ensuring domestic-violence victims are not excluded from the criminal
 justice process because of an inability to pay court costs.  In addition, the
 state Board of Probation and Parole has established a supervision process for
 domestic-violence offenders to protect victims and the community;
 
     Requiring mandatory restitution to victims of adult crime.  Inmates now
 are accountable for making restitution and court costs and fines payments
 while they are incarcerated and as a condition of their probation or parole;
     Establishing the Impact of Crime Class program in all 24 correctional
 institutions and the Quehanna Motivational Boot Camp to teach inmates about
 the devastating long-term psychological, financial and physical consequences
 that crimes have on the lives of victims and their families; and
     Allowing juries in first-degree murder cases to hear testimony from
 victims' families.
 
     CONTACT:  Alison Delsite, Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania Commission
 on Crime and Delinquency, 717-705-0888.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- On behalf of Gov. Tom Ridge,
 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) Chairman Tom Corbett
 today announced $404,551 in grants to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against
 Domestic Violence and six community-based victim-service agencies to better
 meet the needs of domestic-violence victims in rural communities.
     "Victims in rural areas face unique barriers in their struggle to end
 family violence," Corbett said.  "The geographic isolation makes it difficult
 for them to get to a safe place -- a domestic-violence shelter, hospital,
 police station or even the home of a friend or family member.  Our research
 has shown that many of these victims don't work or have a driver's license and
 so they may not have access to transportation."
     Corbett also said that rural families tend to have stronger social and
 cultural pressures that might discourage a victim from reaching out for help.
     The purpose of the grants, which come from the U.S. Justice Department's
 Violence Against Women Act Rural Domestic Violence Project, is to address and
 prevent domestic violence, dating violence and child victimization in rural
 Pennsylvania.
     Those receiving funds are:
       Agency                                         Amount
       PCADV                                         $125,000
 
       Victim Outreach Intervention Center
       Butler County                                 $63,310
 
       Community Action Inc. -- Crossroads
       Clearfield/Jefferson counties                 $50,000
 
       Schuylkill Women in Crisis
       Schuylkill County                             $73,910
 
       Sullivan County Victims Services              $25,000
 
       Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition
       Northumberland/Snyder/Union counties          $40,662
 
       Family Services Crisis Center
       Venango County                                $26,669
      Total                                          $404,551
 
     The six victim-service agencies in nine rural counties will use the funds
 to provide counseling, shelter and other programs to meet particular needs of
 victims.  Some will purchase vans to transport victims to medical and court
 appointments.  Others will help victims with moving and child-care expenses or
 work with community-based organizations like fire departments, churches and
 social-service agencies to better reach victims. One agency will develop a
 training video for law-enforcement officers.
     The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) will use its
 $125,000 grant to embark on a three-pronged approach to the problem of rural
 violence.  The organization will create and distribute a booklet that talks
 about domestic violence and places where victims can turn for help.  It also
 will conduct training programs for criminal justice practitioners, and will
 offer problem-solving and promising- practices forums for law-enforcement
 agencies and victim advocates.
     "The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence appreciates the
 opportunity -- and funding -- to address the unique challenges domestic-
 violence programs encounter in their efforts to offer meaningful assistance to
 battered women living in the rural communities of this Commonwealth," said
 PCADV Executive Director Susan Kelly-Dreiss.  "As the result of this grant,
 our programs will be able to expand their outreach efforts and be in a better
 position to secure safety and justice for rural battered women."
     In 1999, PCCD created a rural domestic-violence planning team to study the
 issue and determine strategies to address the needs of these victims.  The
 team was comprised of representatives from community-based domestic-violence
 programs, police departments, district attorneys, PCADV and PCCD staff.
     Through focus groups and interviews, the team gathered data from domestic-
 violence victims and survivors, police, prosecutors and victim advocates in
 eight rural counties -- Bedford, Indiana, Lawrence, Perry, Potter,
 Northumberland, Sullivan and Wayne.
     Last year, it issued a report, "Determining the Needs of Battered Women in
 Rural Pennsylvania," which identified issues and cited recommendations for
 addressing them.  Among the barriers that keep women from seeking help:
 affordable housing and child care, lack of transportation, and lack of
 education about domestic violence.  The study also revealed that police
 officers, prosecutors and domestic-violence advocates in rural counties need
 more resources and training.
     "We learned a lot of things during that study, including the fact that
 many victims thought violence was just a way of life for women.  And even
 those who recognized they were being abused said they didn't know what to do
 about it because they felt so isolated," Corbett said.  "One woman told us,
 `When you're on a farm at night, there's no one to hear you scream. And
 there's no where to go except out on a dark road.'"
     David Kerr, Director of the Pennsylvania Rural Development Council,
 commended the initiative.
     "Citizens living in rural areas are generally hard to reach for a variety
 of reasons, including less access to traditional media, a reluctance to listen
 to advice from outside their community, and the raw distance they live from
 one another," Kerr said.  "These grants will go a long way in supporting
 grassroots approaches to preventing and identifying domestic violence and
 reaching out to victims."
     The grants are yet another way that Pennsylvania, under Gov. Ridge's
 leadership, is working to enhance its response to crime victims.
     Last year, Pennsylvania was the only state to receive an "A" rating for
 enacting laws that improve the health-care response to victims of domestic
 violence, according to a state-by-state report card issued by the Family
 Violence Prevention Fund.
     Since 1995, the Ridge Administration has assisted victims of crime through
 legislative measures and advocacy, including:
     -- Creating the Office of the Victim Advocate to represent the rights and
 interests of crime victims before both the Department of Corrections and the
 Board of Probation and Parole;
     -- Establishing the Victims' Services Advisory Committee and putting crime
 victims and victims' advocates on the board;
     -- Appointing crime victims to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and
 Delinquency and the Pardons Board;
     -- Signing legislation that created the Bill of Rights for victims of
 juvenile crime;
     -- Establishing the Commonwealth's first statewide registry of protection-
 from-abuse orders;
     -- Requiring domestic-violence victims to be notified when their offender
 is released on bail;
     -- Ensuring domestic-violence victims are not excluded from the criminal
 justice process because of an inability to pay court costs.  In addition, the
 state Board of Probation and Parole has established a supervision process for
 domestic-violence offenders to protect victims and the community;
 
     Requiring mandatory restitution to victims of adult crime.  Inmates now
 are accountable for making restitution and court costs and fines payments
 while they are incarcerated and as a condition of their probation or parole;
     Establishing the Impact of Crime Class program in all 24 correctional
 institutions and the Quehanna Motivational Boot Camp to teach inmates about
 the devastating long-term psychological, financial and physical consequences
 that crimes have on the lives of victims and their families; and
     Allowing juries in first-degree murder cases to hear testimony from
 victims' families.
 
     CONTACT:  Alison Delsite, Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania Commission
 on Crime and Delinquency, 717-705-0888.
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency