The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

ICPD grant to assist in domestic violence response

The Daily Iowan; Photos by James
ICPD investigator Scott Stevens conducts a mock interview with a DI reporter for a photo illustration on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2017. The ICPD was just awarded a 450,000 dollar grant to help fight domestic and sexual assault. (James Year/ The Daily Iowan)

A new grant aims to help local law enforcement assess domestic violence response by looking at the agency’s strengths along with its collaborations with community partners.

The Iowa City police were selected as one of six law-enforcement agencies in the nation to receive a $450,000 grant as part of a national initiative aiming to strengthen response to and investigation of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Funding from the grant will run through September 2019.

The initiative is called Integrity, Action, and Justice: Strengthening Law Enforcement Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence. The program will be conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police with help from the Office of Victims of Crime, the National Crime Victim Law Institute, and other experts.

The grant comes in the wake of the Iowa City police responding to 712 cases of relationship-oriented crime last year.

“In the past several years, let’s say five, we have handled roughly 600 cases,” police Investigator Scott Stevens said. “I don’t know what changed this year. I really can’t say that it’s one thing or the other, but we did have a busy year.”

RELATED: IC police receive grant for domestic-abuse response

He said the police want to become an example to the rest of the state and country of how to perform at the highest level in response to relationship-oriented crime.

“We are going to build up the Iowa City Police Department, our services to the community, the training that our officers receive, the practices that we’re using when we we’re dealing with sexual assault, domestic assault, and stalking,” Stevens said.

According to the grant, the International Association of Chiefs of Police will work with the city police to identify department strengths, raise awareness of implicit and explicit gender bias, create sustainable strategies, develop partnerships and build community trust, and implement trauma-informed, victim-focused procedures agency-wide.

The police have many community partnerships in place already, including partnerships with the Rape Victim Advocacy Program and Domestic Violence Intervention Program. Both organizations were involved in the application for the grant.

“I think what the grant application and subsequently the grant award is acknowledging communities that have found success [and] have developed unique collaborations, and really exploring what works about [those collaborations] and how to improve it and create opportunities to expand the horizon of those collaborations,” DVIP Executive Director Kristie Fortmann-Doser said.

RVAP Director Adam Robinson said he supports the police applying for the grant.

“The thought of writing for this grant and wanting to really build a program and process here in Iowa City that can be looked towards and hopefully replicated throughout the state is pretty inspiring,” Robinson said. “Especially in our current landscape, political and financial, anytime we can get resources attracted to this work in our service area is an amazing thing.”

RELATED: Local event focuses on domestic violence

Fortmann-Doser highlighted that DVIP served 1,899 men, women, and children last year and according to an estimate by the National Network To End Domestic Violence, only 1 in 19 victims ever reach out to a domestic-violence program.

“When you look at the population size and national estimates of 1 in 3 women are going to be battered and 1 in 9 men are going to be battered, we are not reaching the percentage that we need to in any way, shape, or form as a community or as a country,” Fortmann-Doser said.

Stevens said relationship-oriented violence is a worldwide issue.

“I wish we could end it, but that’s not in reality,” he said. “What we can do is provide the best service we can to survivors of these crimes and do the best we can to hold perpetrators accountable through our social justice system.”

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