GCSO applies for Violence Against Women Act Grant


XENIA — Greene County commissioners recently approved a request from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office to apply for the 2023 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Grant. The grant — funded for 2024 — is made available through the Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS).

According to county records, the sheriff’s office initially received funding from the grant in 2007. The grant was applied for and awarded until Dec. 21, 2010 ($34,000 was received). The GCSO did not receive a grant award for 2011 and has not applied since. If awarded, this grant would be used to fund the salary of a Domestic Intervention for Violence Emergency Response Team (DIVERT) detective.

The grant may award up to $60,000 in funding each cycle and requires a cash or in-kind match of at least 25 percent of the total project cost. The DIVERT detective would work in concert with a crisis response specialist from the Family Violence Prevention Center to ensure safety and intervention to the victims of family violence. The goal is to reduce family violence encounters and to provide services that would help break the cycle of violence in their relationships.

Sergeant Beth Prall has been acting as the DIVERT detective for the past couple months while the grant is being researched and written. She travels between her office at the Adult Detention Center and the Family Violence Prevention Center weekly to confer with therapists, case workers, and victims of violence and abuse. It could be fall before the GCSO finds out if the grant has been awarded.

“They were looking for someone with a lot of experience,” said Prall, who was a general case load detective and now will work criminal investigation for domestic violence cases. “We’re working to make it a permanent position. I want to get it all in place in a structured program that is well received.”

A recent change in the Ohio Revised Code made strangulation attempts a second-degree felony rather than a misdemeanor.

Officials said the change is expected to increase the number of victims and the case load at the Family Violence Prevention Center, which will also increase the case load of the DIVERT detective who must accompany the social worker in their field work and one-on-one interviews with the victim.

Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.

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