Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Office on Violence Against Women Announces New Funding Opportunity for Sexual Assault Justice Initiative to Improve Sexual Assault Prosecutions



The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) today announced the release of a new $2.8 million funding opportunity as part of OVW’s Sexual Assault Justice Initiative (SAJI).  Launched in April 2015, the SAJI is an opportunity to improve how the justice system in general, and prosecution in particular, handles sexual assault cases.  This funding announcement will support approximately eight pilot sites to receive up to $400,000 to implement performance measures that reflect promising practices for prosecuting sexual assault and promote justice for victims.

“Very few victims report their assaults to law enforcement,” said Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson of the Office on Violence Against Women.  “But among victims who do report, the reality is that many will likely see their cases dropped during the investigation or prosecution stage.  We know that sexual assault cases can be difficult to prosecute and we see the Sexual Assault Justice Initiative as an opportunity for prosecutors to learn about, and implement, effective practices for sexual assault prosecution.  The goal is to look beyond convictions to see what prosecutors can do to hold offenders accountable and provide victims with the justice they deserve.”

The demonstration initiative is designed to strengthen the justice system’s response to sexual violence and enhance collaborations among sexual assault victim services providers, law enforcement agencies, and sexual assault medical forensic services providers.  With funding from the Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders Program, the Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Grant Program and the Tribal Governments Grant Program, SAJI sites will be able to use the funds to strengthen services in their communities that support sexual assault victims.

Each pilot site will receive technical assistance from AEquitas: The Prosecutor’s Resource on Violence Against Women to implement the performance measures and enhance their approach to prosecuting sexual assault. Sites will also participate in the evaluation of the initiative.

Applications for the SAJI demonstration initiative are due on Oct. 13, 2015.  The solicitation is available at www.justice.gov/ovw/open-solicitations and www.grants.gov.  For information on the Office on Violence Against Women and its grant programs, visit www.justice.gov/ovw.

About the Office on Violence Against Women

Created in 1995, the Office on Violence Against Women provides federal leadership in developing the Nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and subsequent legislation.  OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  To learn more, visit www.justice.gov/ovw.

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