— Hopefully, the positive track record of Wayne County's domestic violence prevention program will help to make sure funding continues.
The Victims Intervention Program (VIP) has been serving victims of domestic violence for many years but now it faces a new challenge — keeping its funding.
"It's like starting from scratch," said Michele Minor-Wolf, executive director of VIP.
What she' referring to is the STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) grant which has funded a lot of the program for the past 10 years.
That grant has been a central part of the funding for VIP but this year, there is a new process in place to acquire the funding.
Wolf said the program changed and now, agencies from all across the state, are on an even playing field.
"We could lose the whole thing," said Wolf.
However, she also believes because VIP has been a successful program for many years, that should bode well when it comes to determining which applicants receive teh funding.
The funding comes through federal dollars and amounts to $125,000 a year. Of that, victims services receives 41 percent, law enforcement 28 percent and prosecution 31 percent.
One of the components of the grant in the past has been funding law enforcement officials to work specifically on crimes against women. That has mainly been done through overtime pay.
However, that part has also changed and a new tactic has been developed.
Wolf said they are hoping to partner with the Wayne County District Attorney's Office to fund a part-time detective who would investigate all cases of domestic violence in Wayne County.
"Its really a great idea," said Wolf.
Wolf, along with DA Janine Edwards, made a presentation about the program last week to the county commission.
Edwards told commissioners should the money become available, that person could work directly with the prosecution on specific domestic violence cases.
Edwards acknowledge Wolf for "working diligently" in trying to secure this grant. She said it would have a "huge impact for victims" in the county.
Should the grant be awarded, Wolf said there could be more off-site work, including partnering with other agencies like the Area Agency on Aging and with psychological rehabilitation groups.
"I do feel this is a stronger program," said Wolf.
But for Wolf, getting the grant is the main objective and she's hopeful those who make that decision will see it the same way.
The grant was submitted this week but Wolf said they won't know the status until Dec. 11. The current grant expires on Dec. 31, so she said it is cutting it close.
Page 2 of 2 - One part of the grant which will have a negative impact on VIP is the fact funding for the VIP hotline will be eliminated. That funding has been through the STOP grant.
Wolf said volunteers will continue to handle the hotline but she is hoping they can raise some funds, as well.
Wolf said VIP is in the planning stages of doing two new fund raising events to go toward hotline funding. Details on those will be announced in the near future.
Staff writer Melissa Leet contributed to this story.