HAMILTON, NJ—The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV), headquartered in Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) Fourth Congressional District, will receive a federal grant of $90,931 from the U.S. Department of Justice for FY 2018, Smith announced on Wednesday.

“The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence performs critical work every day to be a lifeline to victims of domestic abuse and ensure they have the protection, shelter, and resources they need the most,” said Smith, author of the landmark Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA/ P.L. 106-386) which first authorized the grant program through which the coalition will receive the funding, in the law’s provisions reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

“Since 1994, VAWA has provided $7 Billion in grants to states and programs across the country. The funding provided through VAWA has been instrumental to our work in NJ; VAWA has increased the availability of crisis intervention services and legal advocacy, training and education to first responders, as well as increased protections for immigrant survivors and other underserved communities,” said Pamela Jacobs, NJCEDV Executive Director. She noted that NJCEDV looks forward to the reauthorization of the VAWA Reauthorization Act, and “the opportunity to continue to strengthen our response to, and work to prevent, domestic violence in New Jersey.”

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The State and Territorial Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coalitions grant program funds these coalitions in their efforts to end violence against women, which include providing funding, training, and assistance to member rape crisis centers, and through public policy advocacy and public awareness activities.

NJCEDV is a statewide coalition of 30 domestic violence programs and concerned individuals with the purpose of ending domestic violence in New Jersey and helping victims. The coalition has previously received grants from the program in 2015 and 2016 for amounts of $82,882 and $91,641, respectively.

“I want to commend NJCEDV for their playing a direct role in saving lives and giving hope to survivors of domestic abuse,” Smith said. “They—and all partners working with them—are the first line of defense for these women and children.”

The grant program was created through Smith’s provisions that reauthorized VAWA; the original VAWA helped draw national attention to the epidemic of domestic violence and invested significant resources to prevent domestic abuse, assist the women and children victims, and improve the judicial system’s response to domestic violence. Smith will continue to work to support a legislative vehicle that reauthorizes VAWA.

In 2000, Smith incorporated the stalled VAWA reauthorization package into his anti-trafficking law as Division B; in the reauthorization, Smith’s provisions expanded authorization of shelter space and counseling programs for victims of sexual assault, created new grant programs to address sexual assaults on campuses, and authorized funding for Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Enforcement Grants, among other actions.

Smith has consistently supported VAWA, voting seven times to reauthorize the legislation; he has cosponsored the legislation authorizing the Office on Violence Against Women, and has supported funding for these programs over 40 times. In addition, he has also authored Nicole’s Law (H.R. 2120) to help victims of stalking and sexual assault obtain protective orders, and recently authored the International Megan’s Law—which was signed into law on February 8, 2016 (Public Law 114-119)—to protect children around the world from traveling convicted pedophiles. He also authored the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R. 541) to ensure trafficking victims are not marginalized by unrelated bilateral concerns. 

Smith continues to lead on global anti-human trafficking initiatives and to support critical funding for domestic VAWA programs.