DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Lawrence Co. hails grant aid

The county's Crisis Shelter has received the federal funds for seven years.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Because of funding through the Violence Against Women Act, domestic-violence prosecutions in Lawrence County have increased 50 percent since 1998.
District Attorney Matthew Mangino and Cathy McKissick, victim service coordinator of the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County, told Lawrence County commissioners about the benefits of the grant Thursday.
McKissick said the federal grant administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency provides $30,000 for law enforcement, $30,000 for prosecution and $60,000 for victim services in domestic-violence cases.
She said the grant requires a $10,000 contribution from local law enforcement and $10,000 from district attorneys.
The law-enforcement funding goes to the New Castle Police Department's domestic-violence programs, she said. The $60,000 for victims covers McKissick's position and one other job at the Crisis Shelter. She said the funding helps the Crisis Shelter personnel accompany victims to court hearings, secure protection-from-abuse orders, and provide other services.
The shelter has received the federal grant for seven years.
The numbers
Mangino said that in 1998-99, the domestic-violence unit prosecuted 184 individuals; 242 in 1999-2000; 231 in 2000-01; and 266 in 2001-02.
Mangino said during 2001-02, the last statistical year for the unit, it averaged four domestic-violence sentences per month.
Mangino said the county's support of the grant through paying its share is essential because with appropriate funding, the domestic-violence prosecution unit will continue to aggressively pursue those individuals who victimize their spouses, partners or family members.
McKissick and Mangino spoke at the caucus because although Mangino has budgeted a required $10,000 share for the programs, commissioners have to approve the expenditure. Approval is on the agenda for Tuesday's commissioner meeting.

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