Buffalo, NY – A $163,000 federal stimulus grant will allow Child and Family Services Haven House to keep two advocates in Erie County domestic violence courts.
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Until now, domestic violence victims could not be certain an advocate would be there to guide them through the court system and to make sure they were safe.
Since 2004, Haven House has provided an advocate in Erie County's integrated domestic violence court and another one in the county's felony domestic violence court.
The problem was that money wasn't always there to pay the advocates and they had to be let go. That meant sometimes domestic violence victims were left to navigate the complex system alone. That's not only confusing, it can be dangerous, said Laura Grube, Haven House coordinator.
"One of the most importatnt things we do as advocates is safety planning," said Grube.
The three-year federal stimulus grant came through the New York State Crime Victims Board. The agency provides funding, collected from offenders in fines and fees, to 189 programs across the state that assist victims. The extra federal money allowed ten additional programs to be added.
This is the first time Haven House was tapped for funding by the Crime Victims Board. Haven House is a proven service for victims that could win ongoing support, according to Tina Stanford, chairwoman for the Board.
Three other advocacy programs in Allegheny, Chautauqua and Niagara Counties also received the federal stimulus funding. The Crime Victims Board is in Buffalo through Thursday holding their statewide conference.