Congresswoman Cheri Bustos Announces $91,000 Grant To Support Victims Of Domestic Violence In Winnebago County

Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) announced a $91,222 grant to go the Winnebago County Circuit Court. The grant was awarded through the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, and authorized by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which Congresswoman Bustos proudly supported.

“I am pleased to announce this critical investment in the safety and well-being of women, families and the communities of Winnebago County,” Congresswoman Cheri Bustos said. “As a mother and former reporter who uncovered shocking stories of child abuse, I have long valued giving law enforcement officials and courts the resources they need to keep families safe. Today’s grant will do just that.”

The Grants to Support Families in the Justice System program (referred to as the Justice for Families Program) was authorized in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 to improve the response of all aspects of the civil and criminal justice systems to families with a history of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or in cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse. The program includes purpose areas previously authorized under the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program and the Court Training and Improvements Program, along with new purpose areas and applicant requirements.

The Domestic Violence Mentor Court Initiative (Mentor Court Initiative) is a special initiative being funded under the Justice for Families Program. The Mentor Court Initiative was created to recognize well-established specialized courts and enable them to guide other courts and court-based programs that wish to significantly improve their court responses to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking cases and ensure victim safety and offender accountability.

Six courts were competitively selected to serve as Mentor Court sites. Each site will: 1) host site visits; 2) share specialized practices and procedures; 3) continue to enhance current services; and 4) attend OVW trainings and national meetings, as needed. Over the next 24 months, Mentor Court sites will work closely with OVW and the Center for Court Innovation to maintain best practices, serve as a resource for other court sites and assist with the planning and development of the Domestic Violence Court Summit. The Winnebago County Domestic Violence Coordinated Courts (DVCC), located in Rockford, Illinois, is one of the six selected courts.