- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 28, 2001

The Justice Department yesterday announced the creation of a Web-based program aimed at strengthening prevention efforts and improving services to victims of domestic violence.
Known as the "Toolkit to End Violence Against Women," the program was developed by department officials with the Department of Health and Human Services.
"Violence against women crosses all economic, educational, cultural, racial and religious lines," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement. "This invaluable tool was developed to aid in the effort to eradicate such violence from our society."
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said the program will help communities around the country design and implement effective programs to prevent domestic violence.
"It is far better to prevent violence against women than to deal with its devastating consequences for individual women, their children and their families," Mr. Thompson said.
The Toolkit, developed by experts in the areas of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, was designed to assist individuals, policy leaders and community efforts to end violence against women. Comprised of 16 chapters, it offers what Justice Department officials said was the best practices and other recommendations to assist localities in an easily accessible, user-friendly format to help readers pinpoint topics of interest.
The new program is intended to be a valuable resource for communities, organizations and individuals who deal with these issues on a daily basis. Chapters cover areas such as the criminal justice system, health, sports, faith, the media, the military and entertainment.
"The Toolkit is a living document that will continually evolve as new practices and resources arise in the effort to eliminate violence against women," Mr. Ashcroft said.
The Toolkit was developed by the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women, which is co-chaired by the Justice, and Health and Human Services departments. It can be found at toolkit.ncjrs.org.
The Justice Department has been actively involved in domestic abuse programs for the past six years. The department's Violence Against Women Office of the Office of Justice Programs was created in 1995 to implement the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and to lead the national effort to stop domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
The Violence Against Women Office works with U.S. attorneys nationwide to ensure enforcement of the federal criminal statutes contained in the 1994 act and assists the attorney general in formulating policy related to civil and criminal justice for women. It also administers more than $270 million a year in grants to help states, tribes, and local communities transform the way in which criminal justice systems respond to crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
The office works with victim advocates and law-enforcement agencies in developing grant programs that support a wide range of services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, including advocacy, emergency shelter, law-enforcement protection and legal aid. Additionally, the office is leading efforts nationally and abroad to intervene in and prosecute crimes of trafficking in women and children and is addressing domestic violence issues internationally.


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