INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is one step closer to releasing its recommendations on how to use two separate federal grant program allocations to fund domestic violence programs statewide.
The ICJI said between 40-50 groups apply for one or both grants each year.
Thursday, the ICJI Victim Services Subcommittee analyzed how funds from the FVPSA Grant Program and the STOP Grant Program would be divvied out. FVPSA Grants go to domestic violence shelters while STOP Grants boost training programs for service providers, law enforcement and prosecutors.
STOP Grants can also be used for victim services and court-based services for victims. The ICJI said these grants combined bring in only $4 million for Indiana each year, but some service providers are concerned these dollars will become much more important amid looming cuts to larger funding sources.
”Frankly, we’re in a little bit of panic mode,” Beth White with the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking said.
White said ICESAHT hasn’t received FVPSA Grant funds in roughly five years—something she hopes will change given what could become of VOCA (Victims of Crimes Act) Grants by 2025.
”They may have to fill in the gap if VOCA continues to be cut,” White said.
According to the ICJI, VOCA funding for Indiana has decreased since 2018.
”We’ve received as much as $67 million in the past; this next year we’re probably looking somewhere between the $20-30 million range,” Devon McDonald, Executive Director of the ICJI, said.
”This is already a field that is severely underfunded, so hearing there is a cut of $30 million coming our way as providers is threatening,” Aaron McBride with the Firefly Children & Family Alliance said.
The ICJI Victim Services Subcommittee said during its meeting Thursday that while most of the organizations and groups that applied for FVPSA and STOP Grants would receive funding, it would be (in the majority of cases) amounts smaller than requested.
“We know that ICJI has difficult decisions to make, we know that, and I don’t envy them,” White said. “The answer to victims of sexual violence that ‘we don’t have the resources or funding to come help you’, that’s not an answer I ever want to give.”
The subcommittee will present its findings to the Board of Trustees Sept. 1. Funds will then be made available starting in October.