Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. today announced that the Bronx has received a $900,000 award from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to address domestic violence.
District Attorney Clark said, “We are pleased to have received this award which will be put to use immediately during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, towards our Strangulation Initiative to prevent intimate partner fatalities. This $900,000 award, to be granted over the next three years, represents a partnership among my Office, the Borough President’s Office and other agencies to address this most serious problem plaguing the Bronx. Our county has had the highest rate of domestic violence homicides among the City’s five counties.”
Borough President Diaz said, “It is important that we do all that we can to provide domestic violence survivors with the resources and opportunities to get the assistance they need. This grant will allow for a more coordinated response to strangulation incidents, an incredibly common form of domestic violence that requires more attention. My office is proud to partner with District Attorney Clark on this important initiative, and I remain committed to working with providers across the borough and the city to both reduce domestic violence and to build awareness for the resources available to its victims.”
The grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women’s “Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Grant Program” to the Borough President’s Office and is a joint project with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, Safe Horizon, NYC Department of Probation, the New York City Police Department and the Anti-Violence Project.
The goals of this Grant project are to help high risk victims of domestic violence manage their risk, to hold offenders accountable, and to reduce the number of domestic violence homicides in the Bronx. This will be accomplished through a coordinated, community response among domestic violence community-based victim service providers and civil, legal and criminal justice entities.
High-risk victims of domestic violence will be identified and offered services and interventions at the earliest point possible. Program case managers will coordinate with family court, police, prosecution, and probation to identify and work with high risk victims. As part of this project, the Office will work with partners to identify domestic violence victims with highrisk lethality factors, such as strangulation.
The grant provides funding for personnel and training for the Office’s Strangulation Initiative, which is the only program of its kind in the city. Created by the Domestic Violence Bureau, it is a joint program with Bronx Detectives that educates victims of strangulation on the increased risk of a deadly incident, as well as the medical impact strangulation can have on the body.
When a report is filed regarding DV Intimate Partners involving a charge of “Obstruction of Breathing” or “Strangulation” and there is a delay in the arrest, the case is immediately assigned to a DV prosecutor to engage with the victim, refer her/him to our Crime Victims Assistance Unit, and begin case file paperwork so charges can be brought upon arrest.
The Bronx District Attorney’s share of the grant will be managed by Joseph Muroff, Chief of the Special Victims Division; Amy Litwin, Counsel to the Special Victims Division; Adrienne Giunta, Chief of the Domestic Violence Bureau; Bethann Holzhay, Director of the Crime Victims Assistance Unit; and David Olson, Deputy Director of the Planning and Analysis Unit. ###