Chandler hopes grant will combat domestic violence

Matt Peters

Matt Peters

Daily Kent Stater

A $60,000 grant to fund the Portage County Domestic Violence Intervention Project was presented to County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci Friday.

The grant will pay for three different aspects of domestic violence.

It will:

n help diminish domestic violence through educating the community.

n prosecute current offenders by paying for a specialized Domestic Violence Prosecutor.

n provide assistance to victims of domestic violence.

The grant is funded by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services.

State Rep. Kathleen Chandler said she views the grant as an investment. She said the sheriff’s department receives more than 800 calls a year and spends about a third of its time regarding domestic violence cases. It is hoped that providing added funding to deal with domestic violence will mean more time for the sheriff’s department to deal with other crimes.

“I think domestic violence cannot be tolerated,” Chandler said. “Domestic violence is responsible for the greatest number of calls, so it takes up the most time. If we can invest money trying to solve this crime now, in the long run it will be a cost saver.”

The Domestic Violence Intervention Project was started four years ago but has not always received proper funding, Chandler said. She said she’s pleased that it received funding this year.

“It’s been very effective, and we feel it is a good use of public money,” she said.

The outreach portion of the plan gives victim options reaching beyond the legal system. All domestic violence reports filed with the sheriff’s office are forwarded to the outreach advocate so he or she can deal directly with the victim.

“Once there is a charge, this outreach advocate works with the victim so they can understand what’s available,” said Karen Huey, director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services. “If the victim needs a shelter, (the outreach advocate) helps with that. There tries to be a lot of wrap-around services.”

The goal of the education aspect of the project is to diminish domestic violence by reaching out to the county.

“Word will get out that (domestic violence) is not acceptable,” Chandler said.

Contact public affairs reporter Matt Peters at [email protected].