U.S. Department of Justice: Justice for Families Program
The Justice System program was authorized to improve the response of the civil and criminal justice system to families with a history of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, or in cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse. The Program supports the following activities for improving the capacity of courts and communities to respond to families affected by the targeted crimes: court-based and court-related programs; supervised visitation and safe exchange by and between parents; training for people who work with families in the court system; civil legal services; and the provision of resources in juvenile court matters.
Justice for Families Program funds will support projects that take a coordinated approach to helping families victimized by sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as they navigate the justice system. To help achieve this coordinated approach, applicants may propose either a standard project or a comprehensive project, as follows:
- Standard projects must include activities under purpose area number 1 or 5 (below). If an applicant is proposing to provide supervised visitation/safe exchange services (purpose area 1), the applicant must also propose activities under at least one additional purpose area. The courts purpose area (purpose area 5) can be addressed on its own, or in combination with another purpose area.
- Comprehensive projects include activities under purpose areas 1 (supervised visitation), 5 (courts), and 6 (civil legal services). Applicants may include additional purpose areas in a comprehensive project application but are required to include purpose areas 1, 5, and 6.
The Justice for Families Program includes eight distinct purpose areas. For the current solicitation, applicants only may address purpose areas 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8:
- Purpose Area 1: Supervised visitation and safe exchange: Provide supervised visitation and safe visitation exchange of children and youth by and between parents in situations involving domestic violence, dating violence, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must propose activities under at least one additional purpose area for a standard project. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must propose activities under at least one additional purpose area for a standard project. This purpose area must be included in a comprehensive project.
- Purpose Area 3: Training for court-based and court-related personnel: Educate court-based and court-related personnel and court-appointed personnel (including custody evaluators and guardians ad litem) and child protective services workers on the dynamics of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including information on perpetrator behavior, evidence-based risk factors for domestic and dating violence homicide, and on issues relating to the needs of victims, including safety, security, privacy, and confidentiality, including cases in which the victim proceeds pro se. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must also propose activities under purpose area 1 and/or 5.
- Purpose Area 4: Juvenile court resources: Provide appropriate resources in juvenile court matters to respond to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault (including child sexual abuse), and stalking and ensure necessary services dealing with the health and mental health of victims are available. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must also propose activities under purpose area 1 and/or 5.
- Purpose Area 5: Court and court-based programs and services: Enable courts or court-based or court-related programs to develop or enhance: a) court infrastructure (such as specialized courts, consolidated courts, dockets, intake centers, or interpreter services); b) community-based initiatives within the court system (such as court watch programs, victim assistants, pro se victim assistance programs, or community-based supplementary services); c) offender management, monitoring, and accountability programs; d) safe and confidential information-storage and information-sharing databases within and between court systems; e) education and outreach programs to improve community access, including enhanced access for underserved populations; and f) other projects likely to improve court responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Applicants proposing activities under purpose area 5 are not required to propose activities under any other purpose area for a standard project (however, applications that only propose pro se victim assistance programs under purpose area 5(b) or only propose education and outreach programs under purpose area 5(e) will not be considered), but applicants may apply to implement additional purpose areas if they choose. This purpose area must be included in a comprehensive project.
- Purpose Area 6: Civil legal assistance: Provide civil legal assistance and advocacy services, including legal information and resources in cases in which the victim proceeds pro se, to: (a) victims of domestic violence; and (b) non-offending parents in matters: that involve allegations of child sexual abuse; that relate to family matters, including civil protection orders, custody, and divorce; and in which the other parent is represented by counsel. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must also propose activities under purpose area 1 and/or 5 for a standard project. This purpose area must be included in a comprehensive project. In addition, a project in which the primary focus is on providing civil legal assistance is not appropriate for the Justice for Families Program and will be removed from consideration. At least 50% of all proposed activities and budget items in the application must be targeted toward activities other than civil legal services.
- Purpose Area 8: Training within civil justice system: Improve training and education to assist judges, judicial personnel, attorneys, child welfare personnel, and legal advocates in the civil justice system. Applicants proposing activities under this purpose area must also propose activities under purpose area 1 and/or 5.
Current priority areas are identified below:
- Reduce violent crime against women and promote victim safety. Applications meaningfully addressing purpose area 5(a) as a way to reduce violent crime and promote victim safety will receive special consideration.
- Increase the response to victims of human trafficking. To receive special consideration under this priority, applicants must identify how they will improve the response to trafficked victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and address the unique needs of these victims. In order to enhance a coordinated community response to trafficked victims, applicants are encouraged to include mental health and substance abuse professionals as non-funded project partners.
- Increase efforts to combat stalking. To receive special consideration under this priority, applicants must clearly identify how they will meaningfully engage in efforts to combat stalking.
Amount: A total of $11,000,000. Awards by project type are detailed below:
- Standard projects: Grants range up to $550,000 for the entire 36 month project period; 15 awards are expected to be made
- Comprehensive projects: Grants range up to $650,000 for the entire 36 month project period; three to seven awards are expected to be made
Eligibility: States, units of local government, courts (including juvenile courts), Indian tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, legal services providers, and victim service providers.
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