Government executives often hear heartbreaking tales about deficiencies in the justice system:
- A woman is killed because there are not enough court clerks to process protection orders.
- If we had just one more prosecutor we could lock up more violent offenders.
- We need more officers assigned to enforce domestic violence crimes, a prosecution team dedicated solely to sexual assault cases, and more funds to pay overtime to reduce a backlog of cases.
Mayors, county executives and governors are often faced with the reality that they just don’t have the resources.
At the Office on Violence Against Women, we have those resources.
Grants to provide those critical services are open and available now, but the closing deadlines loom ahead.
OVW will provide millions of dollars this year through our program called Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking. The deadline to submit an application is January 27 – just two weeks away.
There is one catch that trips up a lot of applicants for this program – the top government official must apply. Because of the wide scope of this program, the executive’s signature must be part of the application. For some applicants that want and need to apply, this signature can be the impossible to obtain in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, we often hear how deadlines were missed because there was not enough time to get the top leader to sign the application.
As a leader in a big government agency, I can attest that paperwork can travel a long and twisty path before it is signed by a top executive. Bureaucratic action takes time. However, I have witnessed amazing acts by busy executives who knew that their personal attention to a matter would bring help and safety to their jurisdiction.
I encourage senior government executives to ask themselves today: “Is there anything about my justice system that needs to be improved?” If you know of a gap, ask your staff if they are applying for resources that may help prevent violent crime, reduce suffering, or even save a life. Ask if there is anything you need to do to assist.
Mayors, county executives, and governors sign a lot of important documents. Few signatures may be as impactful for years to come as that on an application that provides resources to reduce violent crime by investing in law enforcement and increasing prosecution.