NEW ORLEANS — Today, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey visited New Orleans and reaffirmed the Department of Justice’s commitment to rebuilding that city’s justice system in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Attorney General also announced additional funding for a legal aid grant benefiting the Family Justice Center in New Orleans.
The new grant was awarded to Tulane University Law School to support its domestic violence legal clinic through the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women’s Legal Assistance for Victims (LAV) Grant Program. Tulane University will receive $300,000 in continued grant funding to support the clinic’s work in providing legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
"The Department of Justice is pleased to support the Family Justice Center's important work to help guide victims of domestic violence through the legal process," said Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey. "The catastrophe that hit New Orleans caused incalculable pain and loss that we can never forget, but it also opened our eyes to the tremendous need for services. This grant is just one of the many things the Department has been doing to help rebuild the law enforcement capacity of the city and parishes, and to rebuild the justice system."
During the trip, the Attorney General observed reconstruction efforts in the Lower 9th Ward and the 17th Street Canal, and toured the newly rebuilt New Orleans Police Department. During his visit he met with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to discuss the collaborative efforts in fighting violent crime and rebuilding the justice system. The Attorney General also visited the New Orleans Family Justice Center, a public-private partnership modeled after the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative, where victims of domestic violence find comprehensive services in one central location. Since the Department opened the center last year, it has helped provide a total of 464 services to 139 individuals. In addition to the Tulane grant, the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement will receive more than $1.7 million as part of the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program for 2008 to support nonprofits, courts and law enforcement agencies. Last year, the STOP program funded projects across the state, including four programs in the New Orleans area that provided related services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, the Department has provided $86 million in grants to the state of Louisiana, assigned six additional Assistant U.S. Attorneys and recently filled two victim witness specialist positions, to directly provide services to victims of crime. All of these efforts are part of the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring the criminal justice system in New Orleans is rebuilt.