NJ Secures $4M Federal Grant for Anti-Violence Initiatives

Morristown Minute
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Attorney General Platkin Announces New Jersey Awarded $4M in Federal Funds to Expand Anti-Violence Programs.Photo byMorristown Minute

The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety has been awarded a $4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Justice. This grant aims to amplify community-based violence intervention efforts across the state.

Morristown, NJ - Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced a significant boost in New Jersey's fight against violence. A $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will enhance the state's community violence intervention strategies. The Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA) will spearhead the project, focusing on strengthening collaboration among local violence intervention providers and human service agencies.

Attorney General Platkin emphasized New Jersey's proactive approach to public safety, stating, "This award will ensure New Jersey continues to innovate and lead in violence prevention and intervention programming."

The state's investment in these programs will be furthered by this grant, promoting a more robust, resilient system of violence prevention.

Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director of VIVA, highlighted the collaborative nature of the initiative, "Communities are strengthened when partners work together, creating a network of pro-social services and activities to respond to and reduce instances of violence."

The grant will support existing programs such as the Community-Based Violence Intervention (CBVI) program, Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program, and Trauma Recovery Centers. These programs aim to connect individuals at risk of violence to essential services, fostering their healing and breaking the cycle of violence. VIVA's focus on enhancing coordination among these providers is critical to developing a comprehensive continuum of violence prevention services.

In 2024, a competitive grant application process will commence, selecting two community organizations to establish pilot programs in areas most affected by gun violence. These organizations will be tasked with developing strategies to effectively coordinate prevention services for at-risk youth and adults.

Service enhancements will include improved referral systems, identification of at-risk individuals, cross-training, and community education about available services. These efforts will address intersecting community needs, such as housing, workforce development, and transportation.

The information gleaned from these pilot programs will guide the Department of Law and Public Safety in expanding successful public safety initiatives statewide. VIVA will use this knowledge to enhance the capacity of New Jersey's network of CBVI providers, sharing best practices and fostering a learning environment for community violence intervention.

New Jersey currently funds 31 community organizations under the State’s CBVI grants, each dedicated to reducing community violence through diverse partnerships.

The Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance, as the leading entity, continues to support the development of victim assistance and violence intervention and prevention services, establishing a statewide strategy for service growth and standardization.

With this new grant, New Jersey sets a precedent in combining community efforts and resources towards a safer, more resilient state.

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