As part of a new initiative, the Department of Justice will award $2.3 million to 12 cities and counties across the country to support programs dedicated to stopping the escalation of domestic violence.
Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder revealed the first Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention (DVHP) Demonstration Initiative grant awards Wednesday in Rockville, Md.
“On average, three women are murdered every day in this country by a boyfriend, husband, or ex-husband,” Holder said. “Experts estimate that for every victim of domestic violence who is killed, an additional nine nearly lose their lives.”
The new DVHP Initiative helps state and local jurisdictions to reduce domestic violence homicides by identifying potential victims and monitoring high-risk offenders. The purpose of the grants is to strengthen the ability to reduce domestic crimes and help at-risk individuals.
“These are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters,” Biden said. “These are people who mean the world to their families.”
Eight years ago, a crisis center in Newburyport, Mass., implemented a High Risk Case Response Team that kept identified offenders in custody. As a result, in more than 100 cases between 2005 and 2011 where the team provided management, there wasn’t a single domestic violence homicide, Holder said.
People think of mass murders as “Sandy Hook, and Columbine, and Virginia Tech, and Aurora, and the Sikh Temple,” Biden said. “But most of the women who die in a domestic homicide case die as a consequence of a gun.”
Biden said he hoped other communities around the country will be influenced by the success of the 12 sites and consequently adopt similar programs.
“This is the most tragic of all crimes, a man who claims to love a woman, an estranged husband, a boyfriend, an ex-boyfriend,” he said. “In his warped view of his right and role relative to that woman decides that he has the right to take her life.”