Lexington officials announced Tuesday that the federal government has rewarded the city's domestic violence prevention efforts by renewing a $400-thousand dollar grant. Yhe money comes as part of the Violence Against Women Act. Despite a relatively consistent number of domestic violence calls in recent years, the number of arrests in those cases has jumped 70 percent since 2007 in Lexington. Police and community advocates credit federal grants that allowed them to overhaul their training, place a new emphasis on apprehending offenders, and maintain two victim advocates that respond within 24 hours of a call. Police Chief Ronnie Bastin.
"The grant is going to help us in a lot of ways at a time when resources are dwindling and we're looking for ways to continue to provide the highest level of service we can," Bastin said.
Teri Faragher, director of the Domestic Violence Prevention Board, says the program, which brings together the police department, the Commonwealth's attorney's office, and social service agencies, has shown its effectiveness.
"There are communities in this country that have ended deaths in domestic violence and we want to be one of those communities, and we believe we can do it," Faragher says.
As part of the grant, a new position called a Red Flag Coordinator, will be created within the Commonwealth's attorney's office to identify and improve responses to high-risk cases.