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$515,000 to fight domestic harm

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MALONE — The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s domestic violence and sexual assault service is receiving a $515,000 three-year grant from the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women to be used to enhance tribal justice and safety.

“The grant is part of a $90 million effort to enhance law enforcement practices and sustain crime prevention and intervention in nine purpose areas including public safety and community policing, justice systems planning, alcohol and substance abuse, corrections and correctional alternatives, violence against women, juvenile justice and tribal youth programs,” a tribal news release said.

The funding will provide a safe location for the program and temporary shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as salaries for five staff members in the Three Sisters Program. It was made possible through the department’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation, a single application for tribal-specific grant programs.

“We all have the responsibility to be the voice of victims of domestic violence and to act on their behalf,” Chief Beverly Cook said. “This grant strengthens a critical safety net in Akwesasne.”

The Three Sisters Program originated as a STOP DV Program in 1998. It has since grown to include a supervised visitation and exchange program, temporary emergency shelter for victims and services from three advocates who help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“The continued support from all programs in Akwesasne is what helps our program thrive. We are eternally grateful to work with each and every one of you,” said Amber Montour, commissioner of the tribe’s Division of Social Services.

According to the release, domestic violence and sexual assault affect a growing number of Mohawk members every year. The Three Sisters Program, in collaboration with the tribal police and social services, helps families in crisis.

“These programs take a community-based and comprehensive approach to the root causes and consequences of crime, as well as target areas of possible intervention and treatment,” Associate Attorney General Tony West said in a release. “The CTAS programs are critical tools to help reverse unacceptably high rates of crime in Indian country, and they are a product of the shared commitment by the Department of Justice and tribal nations to strengthen and sustain healthy communities today and for future generations.”

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