The St. Joseph County Police Department has received a $407,000 federal grant to fund a Domestic Violence Incident Response and Support Team.
The grant will allow a county police officer and a social worker from the St. Joseph County Family Justice Center to collaboratively respond to domestic violence calls, as long as it’s deemed safe for the social worker.
Dayna Baxter, case management advocate at the Family Justice Center, will be that social worker. At a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 21, she said the team will be able to connect victims to supportive services within hours of an incident, rather than days.
“We will be able to meet emergency basic needs. So if that’s food, if that’s emergency shelter, if they need their locks changed, we have funding for that," Baxter said. "And then getting them set up with therapy, case management, that sort of thing.”
Baxter said that rapid response is crucial in domestic violence situations.
“Research shows, the sooner you engage victims in domestic violence services, the better the outcome is going to be and the more likely they are to get the support they need to leave that relationship,” she said.
St. Joseph County Sheriff Bill Redman says the money will also help fund domestic violence intervention training for all county officers.
The team hopes to be responding to calls by January 2021.
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