VERMILLION COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — For the second year in a row, the Vermillion County’s Prosecutors office received the STOP Violence Against Women grant.
Kerri Burke, Victim Coordinator and Grant Coordinator with the Vermillion County Prosecutor’s Officer said the grant has played a vital role in the community.
“We recently just ended a case with a 200-year sentence for a sexual assault against a child and so that was a huge part of this grant,” Burke said.
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute gave 2.8 million dollars across the state for the ‘STOP’ grant. Vermillion County will receive over $107,000. dollars. That’s an increase of 40% from last year’s award.
“We were approved for funding for a STOP grant prosecutor and a STOP grant investigator,” Burke said. “Our funding was increased on the investigator side. So, we’re able to hire or employ an investigator that will exclusively work on STOP grant cases. “
“And having the extra funding to hire an actual investigator and find what we need, it’s huge,” Tia Heid, Administrator at the prosecutor’s office said.
What classifies as a STOP grant case?
“Domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and they are moving into the human trafficking a little bit, but it is not 100% yet,” Burke said.
What does the grant mean for the community?
“It allows us to have a victim’s advocate, which can actually advocate for these people. Give them the places they need to go in order to get the help they need,” Heid said.
“We can dedicate time and resources to these crimes. Sexual assault cases have been on the rise, they aren’t going anywhere,” Burke added.
And that dedication of time and resources Burke said give victims a sense that someone is there for them and not judging them. Someone they can reach out to. Somebody that’s on their side.
If you are a victim of one of these crimes, including sexual assault, domestic violence or dating violence, Burke encourages you to reach out to your local law enforcement and to report the crime.