Grant to create domestic violence support team in SJCPD

SAINT JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.-- The Saint Joseph County Police are set to accept a major grant, Wednesday October 21st at 10 a.m. inside of the Saint Joseph County Jail, to help victims of domestic violence.

The money will fund a pilot program to help those victims get the assistance they need faster!

They are currently set to receive a $407,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Victim Crime.

“That will help develop a partnership with our department and family justice center and a social worker to assist in domestic violence situations where of course victims need assistance," says Sheriff Bill Redman with the Saint Joseph County Police Department.

In partnership with the Family Justice Center the SJCPD is now able to move forward with further, on the ground, domestic violence training and assistance.

This is a 3-year grant given by the U.S. Department of Justice's office of victim crime.

It will be used to create a police officer and social worker duo now called the Domestic Violence Incident Response and Support Team.

Their goal will be to get faster more curated help to victims, sooner.

“What this grant entails basically is that our officer along with a social worker will respond to domestic violence situations once it’s deemed safe," says Sheriff Redman. "And they will collectively work together to provide as much assistance to the victim much quicker than what we normally see.”

This help much needed especially amid a global pandemic that has made life harder on many individuals.

“We had planned and talked about these incidents increasing in the very beginning when COVID first struck," says Sheriff Redman.

But for many, now confined to their homes as schools and jobs across the country shift to an online approach--an increase in domestic violence cases was not far behind.

“We have had an uptick in domestic violence cases as most people know," says Sheriff Redman.

Over the past year we have been on a steady incline since March, with spikes in August, September and now 38 domestic violence calls in the first 19 days of October.

That can be paired down to two calls per day.

This troubling trend makes this $407,000 grant and partnership crucial.

“With this grant it gives us the ability to respond much faster," says Sheriff Redman.

Changing up their normal routine.

“We currently will send and officer to a domestic call. He or she will make a report and then submit it and then it’s followed up with at a later time," says Sheriff Redman.

Now, a social worker will be on scene right away--a push the nation and department are ready, open, and excited for.

“And because of the National issues and concerns going on social workers have sorta become the fore front of working and assisting with police officers—we can collectively work together and that’s what this grant will let us do," says Sheriff Redman.

Aside from just the partnership-- this grant includes additional domestic violence training to all SJCPD officers and surrounding departments.

Allowing everyone to be on the same page, ready to jump in and better help victims-- a win win for the county.

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