Valley Crisis Center said it’s been selected to get funding through the Domestic Violence Response Team Program of the California Emergency Management Agency. The grant will provide $125,000 for the project and will address gaps in domestic violence response throughout Merced County with the goal of increasing victim safety and encouraging offender accountability, according to a news release.
To do this, the center will partner with the Merced Police Department. The grant will fund a center advocate dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence through the criminal court process. It will also pay for part of a law enforcement officer through the police department.
In the news release Merced Police Chief Norman Andrade said, "The Merced Police Department has been a longtime supporter in the fight against domestic violence. In these hard economic times we look forward to this collaborative partnership with the Valley Crises Center in an effort to make a positive difference in reducing violence."
Additional partners in the project include the Merced County District Attorney's Office, Child Welfare Services, Merced County Sheriff's Department, and the police departments of Los Banos, Atwater, Livingston, Dos Palos, Gustine, and University of California Department of Public Safety. The main goals of the project are to work with all departments in the development and revision of domestic violence protocols for Merced County, as well as implement county-wide training for law enforcement officers and other first-responders.
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"Merced County is in a unique position to take this project on,” Genevieve Bardini-Davis, program director at the center, said in the release. “In the past five years many departments have experienced budget cuts, layoffs and an increase in the need for response. Despite these challenges, Merced continues to succeed in the quality of our collaborative relationships, while keeping focused on the ultimate goal of addressing the needs of those who have been impacted by abuse.”--Sun-Star staff