A federal grant to the Caddo Parish District Attorney and the Caddo Parish Commission, intended to assist the victims of family violence, has been renewed for the coming year.
The $500,000 grant, first awarded in 2016, allowed District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. to hire a Victims Assistance Coordinator and dedicated investigator who provide around-the-clock assistance to the Special Victims Unit.
“Domestic violence is an epidemic that impacts every jurisdiction in the nation,” says Assistant District Attorney Britney A. Green, Chief of Domestic Violence for the DA’s office. “This grant enables us to use direct and innovative approaches to hold abusers accountable and to serve our victims. Devoting resources and attention to this issue is how we make a difference to the people who matter.”
Next month, October, is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, making the renewal Wednesday, September 18, 2019, of the grant from the Office on Violence Against Women, under the Improving Criminal Justice Responses Program, specially appropriate.
The grant funds cooperative endeavors between local law enforcement and nonprofits to more effectively and rapidly respond to the needs of adult and juvenile victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking in Caddo Parish.
Within 24 hours of an arrest for a most-serious domestic violence-related offense, the Shreveport Police Department and Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office notify the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office. This allows the District Attorney’s investigators to immediately coordinate efforts to obtain evidence to aid prosecution.
Within 48 hours of an arrest, the Victims Assistance Coordinator contacts the victim to assess their need for such essentials as food, clothing and shelter, and to connect the victim to the array of other services provided by Project Celebration, the Gingerbread House and the Family Justice Center in Bossier City.
Project Celebration provides direct services to adult and child victims, including medical and personal advocacy, criminal justice advocacy, safety planning, safe house, therapy and assistance in filing for aid. Gingerbread House provides 24-hour services for forensic interviewing, as well as counseling for juvenile victims ages 2 to 16.
These support agencies are among grant partners with the Caddo DA and the Caddo Parish Commission.