The US Department of Justice is sending some big bucks to Yakima to help attack a big problem....half a million dollars are headed this way to help reduce the number of domestic violence cases where firearms are involved.

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The Problem Is Real In Yakima

Yakima's request to the Federal Office of Violence Against states:

In the state of Washington, “domestic violence” (DV) includes not only intimate partner violence but family, roommate, and other domestic-related situations.  The city has limited historical data but the Yakima Police Department (YPD) says that higher rates of intimate partner violence exist in the city's poorest neighborhoods.

What the YPD wants to do is identify ways to effectively reduce the deadly nature of intimate partner violence within the sections of our community "that face the greatest systemic barriers."

Stats Are Few But Significant

Local numbers show that for the past five years domestic violence was on a downward trend but then began rising again in 2020, both for 911 calls for service as well as crime reports. In 2020 more than 1 out of every 5 calls (22.4%) DV was for domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Calls By Year

2016........1,947

2017........2,175

2018........1,995

2019........1,868

2020........1.991

Once a DV call enters the courts, there aren't any specialized dockets for domestic violence and no therapeutic courts focusing on domestic violence.

How Best To Use The Money

The city plans a coordinated, community-based, effort with what they say will be a multi-faceted project focusing on holding offenders accountable while protecting the safety of victims.

Specific strategies include:

  • Creation of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Enhanced prosecution.
  • Increased victim education and outreach.
  • Data sharing and analysis.
  • Learning from experts.
  • Learning from others.
  • Helping children.

Zeroing In, Getting It Done

From the City's formal request for the Grant:

Our project aims to reach all domestic violence victims, with a particular focus on repeat victims, firearm-related victims and marginalized victims. Yakima has a very large Spanish-speaking population, and we are creating additional avenues to reach them through our police department forms, Spanish-speaking DV Probation Officer and Victim Advocates.

The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) grant in the amount of $499,212.00 t comes to the city through the Yakima Police Department as part of a national pilot program to support local efforts to identify and implement domestic violence reduction strategies.  Good Luck.  We need it.

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