Stopping violence against women
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
Stopping violence against women was on the minds of Houston County Commissioners on Tuesday, July 27 as they voted unanimously to accept a $30,105.14 “Stop Violence Against Women” grant award for the county attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office. $7,397 of the funds will be allocated to the county attorney’s office. These funds will provide for software and videos, three laptops, two printers, a projector and screen for use by the county attorney to present facts in the courtroom as well educate and empower victims to reduce continued abuses. The grant also provides salary funding in the amount of $11,130 for a certified peace officer to work 16 hours per week solely on dealing with crimes against women. Additionally, a part-time clerk (20 hours per week) will be hired to assist in any case involving women as the victim. This clerk will also develop a resource manual of available services provided locally and in the surrounding areas for the sheriff’s office to use as needed while encountering crimes where a woman is the victim. $11,130 of the grant is allotted for the clerk’s salary. Another $1,200 of the grant funds will be used to purchase a desk top computer for the officer and clerk to use while working at the sheriff’s office. The Stop Violence Against Women grant is a three-part no-match, non-continuous grant from the Office of the Governor. The award letter received by the county states, “The Office of the Governor is working to ensure that communities throughout the state receive the resources to make Texas a safer place by creating and supporting programs that protect people from crime, reduce the number of crimes committed, and promote accountability, efficiency and effectiveness within the criminal justice system. Your project contributes to these efforts.” Susie Hammond and Melissa Mosley wrote the grant. After the meeting, Hammond discussed statistics with the Courier. Hammond, who presented the information to the commis-sioners, said women were victims of crimes reported in Houston County increased from 29 in 2005 to 61 in 2009. Hammond said the statistics include all kinds of crime where women are victims, not just sex crimes. She said family violence cases increased 200 percent between 2005-2009. Hammond explained 145 domestic/family violence cases from 2009 were reviewed by the county attorney. These were cases from all law enforcement agencies in the county, not just the sheriff’s office. Included were 94 assault cases, 15 terroristic threats, 7 unlawful restraints, 5 violations of protective orders and 4 interference with 9-1-1 calls. Hammond and Mosley said getting the grant was a time-consuming, paper-intensive process. They are now looking for ways to make sure this program continues when the new grant expires.