Today, Congressman John Sarbanes joined Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) in announcing $1.2 million to increase the availability of civil and criminal legal assistance for survivors of dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, among other forms of domestic violence. This funding comes from the Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program, administered by the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women, and provides funds for comprehensive direct legal services relating to or arising out of abuse or violence.
"Throughout the pandemic, we saw an alarming rise in intimate partner and gender-based violence, which put the health and wellbeing of too many Marylanders at greater risk. This funding gives more resources to trusted organizations that are working on the ground to protect survivors and ensure their safety. We will continue to stand with domestic violence survivors and do everything we can to support and fund local partners who are making a positive difference in our communities," said the lawmakers.
Funding awards include:
- $600,000 for the Tahirih Justice Center in Baltimore City
- $600,000 for the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center (SARC) in Harford County
The lawmakers supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the fiscal year 2022 government funding bill, which reauthorized critical domestic violence survivor programs through 2027. These programs include the Rape Prevention and Education grant program to provide services, protection, and justice for young victims of violence; the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Program, which enhances judicial and law enforcement tools to help crack down on domestic violence; and the SMART Prevention Program, which reduces dating violence. The reauthorization also took historic steps to expand jurisdiction for American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes and increase services and supports for historically underserved populations – including LGBTQ+ survivors, survivors with disabilities, immigrant survivors, older Americans, and others.