CHICAGO — Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJA) will provide more than $1.6 million in federal funds to three counties for innovative programs that will enhance their response to domestic violence through law enforcement, prosecution, court, probation, and victim service efforts.
McLean, Peoria, and St. Clair counties will receive grant funding to establish their own Domestic Violence Multidisciplinary Team Response programs. Each of the three program sites will house representatives of the state’s attorney’s offices, law enforcement and victim service agencies, and court services and probation departments in each county. As the groups work together in centralized locations, each one will get a better understanding of the issues faced by victims and victims will be more likely to participate in the criminal justice process.
“Domestic violence victims require a variety of services,” said Gov. Rod Blagojevich. “By providing these services in one convenient location, we will increase accessibility and help ease the criminal justice process for thousands of victims each year.”
It is estimated that each Domestic Violence Multidisciplinary Team Response program will assist between 1,200 and 1,600 victims annually. Programs will be tailored to best serve the needs of domestic violence victims in each county. They will build on domestic violence programming already in place to provide safety and support to victims of interpersonal violence and abuse while holding abusers accountable. Each one will be required to maintain a dedicated domestic violence court.
The Authority initiated a plan to implement domestic violence protocol programs across the state in 1995 and sites were created to serve citizens in 11 counties (Bureau, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle, Macon, Madison, McLean, Peoria, Sangamon, St. Clair, and Winnebago). In the past year, the Authority set out to provide enhanced services to domestic violence victims. McLean, Peoria and St. Claire sites demonstrated solid collaborative efforts among state’s attorney’s offices, law enforcement, victim service agencies, court services and probation departments in these counties allowing these sites to be selected for continued funding.
“Effective working partnerships between the different elements of the criminal justice system are critical to the success of this program,” said Lori G. Levin, Authority executive director. “We want to support counties that are dedicated to providing domestic violence victims with these wraparound services.”
The Authority will administer the programs with Violence Against Women Act funding. Each county will be required to provide 25 percent in local matching funds.
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority is the state agency designated by the governor to administer Violence Against Women Act funds awarded to Illinois by the U.S. Department of Justice.