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New federal grant money will help Greene County crack down on domestic violence and provide more assistance to victims. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
The U-S Justice Department's Office of Violence Against Women approved a two-year grant that totals more than a quarter of a million dollars.
The money will fund three new positions: a paralegal in the prosecutor's office who will work on domestic violence cases, a Greene County Sheriff's detective, and a victim advocate who will work with the detective.
Assistant Prosecutor Jill Geary Patterson says pairing the detective and advocate is a novel approach that will ensure victims of domestic violence receive support quickly.
Those who work with victims say having an advocate who is on the front lines combating domestic violence is critical.
Jane Knabb (nab) is the Independent Living Specialist at the Family Violence Center in Springfield.
She says women who are in abusive situations often don't know what kind of help is available to them.
Jane Knabb says she's especially pleased that the grant money will help create more collaboration between law enforcement, advocates and prosecutors.
Knabb says when women first leave their abuser, they need an advocate to help attend to their personal needs.
She says women in abusive relationships often don't believe in their own ability to survive on their own.
The new domestic violence team will be working directly with domestic violence victims.
Jill Geary Patterson says that means children in abusive homes will receive assistance as well.
Patterson says law enforcement officers in Greene County deal with 30 to 50 cases of domestic violence each week.