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County Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative Awarded $824,800 Grant to Expand Services Throughout Cleveland and Suburban Communities


Media Contact: Miranda Kortan: (216) 698-2546; mkortan@cuyahogacounty.us

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH - Cuyahoga County’s Witness Victim Service Center (WVSC), administered by the Department of Public Safety and Justice Services, announced today its Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative has been awarded an $824,800.33 grant from the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, to expand services throughout Cuyahoga County over a three-year period.

“The Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention program has helped thousands of our residents in need, and Cuyahoga County’s Witness Victim Service Center advocates work tirelessly to ensure victim safety is prioritized and that victim rights are upheld,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “I am pleased that this successful initiative is receiving this award so we can expand services throughout Cleveland and in the suburban communities of Cuyahoga County.”

Since 2016, WVSC has led a local site for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative, along with local nonprofit Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center (DVCAC) and Cleveland Police.

Throughout the course of the project, over 800 Cleveland Police Officers have been trained in the use of a danger assessment tool that is administered at the scene of a domestic violence crime to identify victims of intimate partner violence who are at heightened risk for homicide.

High-risk victims receive specialized services from a WVSC court advocate and a dedicated police detective. Cases resulting in criminal charges are assigned to the High-Risk Domestic Violence Docket at Cleveland Municipal Court. The cases are also reviewed by a high-risk team that includes criminal justice partners from both the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

With Cleveland having the highest concentration of domestic violence crimes in the County, the initiative was piloted in the City’s Police Districts 1 and 5. With this funding, WVSC will work in partnership with DVCAC to expand the model citywide to Cleveland Districts 2, 3 and 4 and municipal police departments and courts, beginning with several east side suburbs.

“This grant award not only serves as an opportunity to increase Cuyahoga County’s ability to assist victims of violence but also serves as validation of the hard work that was put in by so many since the inception of the Homicide Prevention program in 2016,” stated Cuyahoga County Public Safety and Justice Services Director Alex Pellom. “While the majority of the work Witness Victim Advocates do is traditionally facilitated outside of the limelight, the positive impacts continue to reap benefits throughout every facet of our community.”

The grant funds will also allow WVSC to:

  • Employ a high-risk captain who will track high risk cases, provide case management for cases triaged by the high-risk team, maintain a database on warrant enforcement needs, and assist with WVSC's collaborative role within the newly created Domestic Violence Court in the Court of Common Pleas.
  • Assist multiple suburban communities in their assessment of domestic violence policies and train them in the use of a danger assessment for law enforcement.
  • Support warrant enforcement efforts within the City of Cleveland Division of Police. Many domestic violence warrants pend at the misdemeanor level and represent a significant threat to victim safety. This grant will allow WVSC to support the work of the officers assigned to the Neighborhood Impact and Community Engagement (N.I.C.E.) Unit, which has been assisting with warrant enforcement in high risk cases since 2018.

“The Department Justice Office on Violence Against Women provides federal leadership to reduce violence against women and administer justice for victims of domestic violence,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “We are proud to partner with Cuyahoga County to help fund the County Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative. This funding will help to make a significant and positive impact in the lives of domestic violence victims in our community.”