RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is accepting applications from localities for grant funding for community violence intervention programs. In addition to funding evidence-based programs, localities can use these grants to develop comprehensive strategies to examine systemic issues in their communities that may be contributing to gun violence. Localities are encouraged to apply for up to $150,000. These funds are available through the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.
“Preventing gun violence in our communities requires a multi-faceted approach that not only strengthens our laws and limits access to dangerous firearms, but also provides resources to our communities to intervene and address the factors contributing to this deadly problem,” said Governor Northam. “We know that in most communities, it is a small number of people that contribute to the vast majority of violent crime. These grants will help provide localities with the resources to identify these at-risk individuals and get them off the path to violence.”
In May, Governor Northam announced that $2.45 million in federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funding was awarded to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association to support Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIPs) at seven Virginia hospitals. These programs have demonstrated success in curbing violence, including gun violence. HVIPs connect victims with extensive wraparound services and help to interrupt the cycle of violence. Studies show that without a multidisciplinary approach like HVIPs, 44 percent of survivors of violence who receive hospital medical care will return with another injury within five years. Of these, 20 percent will die from homicide.
Also in May, DCJS awarded $350,000 in VOCA funds to local school divisions to provide trauma-informed services to students who have experienced or witnessed violence. Providing trauma-informed services to youth is an important tool in addressing negative outcomes associated with exposure to violence, including risk of future violence or criminal activity. Research demonstrates that children who are exposed to violence, whether directly or indirectly, are more likely to become offenders themselves, and are more likely to engage in gun-related crimes in the future.
“The impact of gun violence on our communities is devastating and has far-reaching implications for every person who is touched by these daily tragedies,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “We must continue to take every step possible to support holistic approaches that equip public safety, healthcare, mental health, education, and community professionals with the tools they need to intervene and interrupt these cycles of violence.”
“DCJS is in the unique position to support many different stakeholders throughout the criminal justice system in Virginia,” said DCJS Director Shannon Dion. “I am proud that our agency can be a partner and leverage these relationships to facilitate holistic, demonstrable change in our communities.”
Information on the Byrne-JAG solicitation for grant applications and the other grant programs mentioned above can be found at www.dcjs.virginia.gov.
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