- Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Two Wisconsin communities have been awarded federal funding to improve their responses to sexual assault and domestic violence cases.

The city of Superior and Sauk County received about $450,000 each from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, Wisconsin Public Radio reported .

The grant will fund a full-time detective dedicated to domestic violence cases, said Superior Police Chief Nick Alexander. A victims advocate from the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse will work with the detective.

“To have somebody dedicated to the follow-up and give the victim special attention and to dedicate investigative resources too - that’s certainly going to have an impact,” Alexander said.

Local law enforcement responded to 585 domestic violence calls last year, he said. The funding will hopefully help make victims feel safe, reduce barriers to reporting sexual assault and improve accountability among offenders, Alexander said.

Sauk County will use its money to help improve relationships between the district attorney’s office, law enforcement and Hope House, a local victims advocate group, said Rick Spoentgen, assistant district attorney.

“We can also improve our systemic responses. We can improve our interviews. We can improve our investigations, and we can improve our ultimate prosecution to hopefully hold more people accountable,” he said.

Spoentgen said the funds could also be used to expand existing trauma training for law enforcement and attorneys.

The grants will last for the next three years. The Department of Justice awarded more than $30 million to 50 applicants across the U.S.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

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