08.01.06

Schumer Announces Over $640,000 For Legal Aid Society Of Northeastern New York

Federal Funds Awarded by U.S. Department of Justices Office on Violence Against Women to Increase Legal Services and AwarenessLegal Aid Society of Northeastern New York Serves 16 Counties in the Region

U. S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced $647,615 for the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Inc. by the U.S. Department of Justices Office on Violence Against Women. The federal funds will be used to provide legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Domestic violence is an awful problem in our communities, Schumer said. Battered women should never have to think twice about whether or not to report their abusers, and creating comprehensive legal services to secure victims safety must be top priority. Advocacy organizations like the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York need the tools to provide these services, and I will fight hard to increase funding to such programs.

The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York is the successor organization of the Legal Aid Society of Albany, founded in 1923. The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, in collaboration with the Rural Law Center, Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties, Domestic Violence/ Saratoga Rape Crisis Services, Community Action of Green County, Inc., Family Counseling Center of Fulton County, Catholic Charities of Montgomery County, Catholic Charities of Schoharie County, Mechanicville Area Community Service Center, St. Lawrence Valley Renewal House, STOP Domestic Violence/ Behavioral Health Services North and ComLinks Domestic Violence Intervention Program, will establish the Domestic Violence Legal Assistance Project in 13 rural counties in northeastern New York.

The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York Inc. is implementing ways to provide direct representation and victim advocacy in order to increase victims safety and strengthen their economic security. It serves 16 counties in northeastern New York. The Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program began as a set aside from the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program. It was statutorily created in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and is eligible to nonprofit, nongovernmental legal services organizations, nonprofit, nongovernmental victim service agencies, public entities operating in their nongovernmental capacity, and Indian tribal governments.

With funding from the Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program, the Domestic Violence Legal Assistance project will offer comprehensive legal representation to victims of domestic violence and stalking, provide comprehensive legal services to individual victims, provide training on the dynamics of domestic violence and stalking to private attorneys and domestic violence advocates, support the development of collaborations between Domestic Violence Legal Assistance staff and staff at local domestic violence service providers; and increase access to domestic violence services and provide information about domestic violence and stalking in each community served by the project.

Schumer has led the efforts this year to reauthorize the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is set to expire September 30th. In July, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill at which law enforcement officials, domestic violence activists, and Department of Justice representatives testified on possible improvements to the Violence Against Women Act of 2005. Schumer fought to strengthen the VAWA by expanding grant programs, supporting rural areas, and protecting victims. Last week, the bill passed the Judiciary Committee, and is slated to pass the full Senate soon. The original VAWA bill was authored by Schumer in the House of Representatives. This legislation will renew several successful programs and provides funding for training, education and outreach so that state and federal agencies can do a better job of preventing violence against women and assisting victims of domestic violence.



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