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Grant funds stepped-up Deschutes domestic violence response


Deschutes County law enforcement agencies, working with a nonprofit partner, will be able to provide an enhanced response to domestic violence victims and swift prosecution of domestic violence offenders, thanks to a recent $450,000 federal grant, those involved in the effort announced Monday.

The grant will help the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement agencies — the sheriff’s office, as well as the Bend, Redmond, Black Butte, and Sunriver police departments — and Bend-based nonprofit Saving Grace work collaboratively to reduce the domestic violence toll in the community.

In 2017, there were 29 deaths in 19 separate incidents in 11 Oregon counties related to domestic violence.

The three-year award, first announced last week by the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, will support the creation of a domestic violence investigator based at the district attorney’s office and a multi-disciplinary High-Risk Domestic Violence team.

District Attorney John Hummel said, “We’re excited to receive this grant which will enable us to enhance our response to domestic violence in partnership with law enforcement and Saving Grace.

“The funding to hire a specialized domestic violence investigator, create a high-risk domestic violence team and provide increased resources for victims of domestic violence will help Deschutes County become a national leader in keeping women and children safe,” the DA said in a joint news release.

The funding will also support enhancement of the Lethality Assessment Program, an innovative strategy to prevent domestic violence homicides and serious injuries.

It provides an easy and effective method for law enforcement to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk of being seriously injured or killed by their intimate partners, and immediately connect them to Saving Grace services for emergency shelter, safety planning and other services.

“Saving Grace is proud to call the district attorney’s office and law enforcement agencies partners in our efforts to stop domestic violence in our community,” said Trish Meyer, interim executive director at Saving Grace. “The ramifications of domestic violence are many, including serious injury and death. Our hope is that a rapid, coordinated response will deter those who perpetrate violence and offer safety, hope and healing to those who have been harmed. Together, we can be someone’s saving grace.”

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