For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Poughkeepsie … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced he will increase funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services and training as part of his 2020 Executive Budget, which he will present to the County Legislature later this month. County Executive Molinaro’s budget apportions an additional $100,000 for training, education, and other recommendations included in a recent report from the Dutchess County Legislature’s Sexual Assault Task Force, as well as $30,000 for local non-profit domestic violence agency Grace Smith House for expanded counseling funding, family advocacy and Latina community outreach.
Funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs and services will total nearly $3.7 million in County Executive Molinaro’s 2020 Executive Budget, a proposed increase of 10% over the adopted 2019 County Budget.
County Executive Molinaro said, “There is clearly a greater need for education and awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault, more than ever before. Make no mistake: Domestic violence and sexual assault will not be tolerated in Dutchess County, and the safety of every resident is our greatest shared responsibility. There are few crimes more heinous than domestic violence and sexual assault, each of which ruins lives and leaves irrevocable psychological scars. We, as a County government, will continue our work to safeguard those who have been violated, educate those who might perpetrate such acts, train law enforcement to see the sometimes hidden effects of such abuse, and keep our community safe by prosecuting those who abuse others.”
Based on the recommendation of a report by a County Legislature task force, County Executive Molinaro has allocated $100,000 in the 2020 budget to fund specialized sexual assault training for law enforcement, safe and calming interview space for victims at the County’s Law Enforcement Center, and expand outreach and education throughout the community.
Assistant Majority Leader of the Legislature Donna Bolner, who serves as the Legislative Liaison to the Citizens Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence, said, “Domestic violence and sexual assault are indeed crimes, and no one is above the law when they commit such abhorrent acts. No position of authority gives one the jurisdiction to victimize another, and Dutchess County stands firm in that conviction. I thank County Executive Molinaro for reaffirming Dutchess County’s commitment to protecting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with the funding commitments he’s pledged in his 2020 budget, including specialized law enforcement training. The training will give a stronger voice to domestic violence and sexual assault victims by helping law enforcement to understand the impacts of trauma on the investigative process, resulting in stronger evidence and higher levels of accountability for offenders.”
As part of the expanded community outreach, County Executive Molinaro’s budget will increase funding to the Grace Smith House, a Poughkeepsie-based non-profit which offers residential and non-residential services to victims of domestic violence and their families, including emergency shelter, counseling, transitional housing, advocacy, safety planning and preventative education to County residents. The budget proposal will direct an additional $30,000 in funding to expand counseling funding, provide family advocacy and expand Latina outreach.
The budget will also provide funding to ongoing and new programs to more effectively address the issues of high-risk domestic violence offenders. Through its Office of Probation and Community Corrections continues to develop, implement, and evaluate a pilot program which utilizes the use of a domestic violence assessment instrument, along with a cognitive-based intervention program known as Domestic Violence-Moral Reconation Therapy. Further, Dutchess County was one of four counties throughout the United States chosen to pilot the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Program (IPVI) aimed at early intervention and preventing escalating acts of violence.
Dutchess County District Attorney Bill Grady said, “We look forward to our collaboration with Probation and Community Correction and Family Services to pilot the Intimate Partner Violence Program, as we are one of the only counties in the nation selected for this innovative program to intervene early with individuals who have been charged acts of domestic violence to prevent future escalation of violence. I am grateful to County Executive Molinaro for also adding funding for specialized law enforcement training that enhances awareness, provides us greater resources to assist victims and strengthens our ability to prosecute abusers.”
County Executive Molinaro said, “The words and actions of every individual – regardless of their standing or position in our community – matter, and Dutchess County condemns anyone who makes light of the gravity of domestic violence and sexual assault. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with our County’s stance on these crimes, and levity about such grave issues smacks in the face of the way we in Dutchess County choose to live.”
Initiatives to combat and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault are among numerous topics County Executive Molinaro will announce during his 2020 Executive Budget Address on Wednesday, October 30th at 10 a.m. in the Legislative Chambers, 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. The County Executive’s Budget Address can be viewed live on the County’s website, dutchessny.gov. Later that evening on the 30th, at 6:30 p.m., County Executive Molinaro and Budget Director Jessica White will host a countywide tele-town hall forum when residents will have the opportunity to participate in a live conversation about the 2020 county budget, learn key details, ask questions and share feedback. County Executive Molinaro will also host a series of 2020 Executive Budget town hall forum events held throughout the county during the month of November.