CHICAGO — Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that more than $1.3 million in federal funds will be used to support domestic violence and sexual assault victim services programs in underserved communities for populations in need of language and other specialized services.
“No one person should be without the help and support they need to recover from violence or abuse,” said Governor Blagojevich. “It is important that we effectively distribute the resources we have available to assist domestic violence and sexual assault victims in Illinois, wherever they live or whatever language they speak.”
A number of obstacles, in addition to language barriers, exist for victims living in rural communities. Many are familiar with the law enforcement officers, court personnel, and individuals working in the criminal justice system, and are embarrassed to ask for help.
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) will provide a total of $662,310 in grants to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA). The ICADV grant will support 21 programs that provide domestic violence advocacy services geared towards Latino populations and victims with chemical dependencies in several counties, including Carroll, Peoria, and Harrisburg. ICASA will use its funds to support 26 programs in predominately Latino and African-American communities in Chicago and in rural communities in several counties, including Boone, Jasper, and Macoupin.
“These coalitions have a proven history of successfully providing assistance and resources to domestic violence and sexual assault victims across Illinois,” said Lori G. Levin, Authority executive director. “We will continue to support organizations that are dedicated to assisting victims who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these types of services.”
ICASA is a not-for-profit corporation of community-based sexual assault crisis centers working together to end sexual violence. Each center provides 24-hour crisis intervention services, counseling, and advocacy for victims of sexual assault. Centers also provide prevention education programming across Illinois. Last year, ICASA assisted about 1,500 victims and provided nearly 5,000 hours of counseling and advocacy services in underserved communities and populations.
ICADV works to eliminate domestic abuse in Illinois, with a primary focus on women and their children. The coalition provides local services to the victims of domestic violence, including crisis telephone counseling, temporary shelter for the victims and their children, and assistance in obtaining community resources, and acquiring employment skills and work referrals. ICADV also provides statewide training to service providers working with domestic violence victims. ICADV served nearly 2,700 victims and provided more than 16,000 hours of counseling and advocacy services in underserved communities and populations last year.
Violence Against Women Act funding from the U.S. Department of Justice will support these ICASA and ICADV initiatives. VAWA funding has a two-year life span. Counties and municipalities receiving program funding are 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.