Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Boston Police Department Domestic Violence Advocacy Project

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): MA

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2010/$346,284

About the Program:

The City of Boston is the largest populated urban region in Massachusetts, with over 600,000 residents living in its 20 neighborhoods. The City’s daytime population increases to over 1 million as a result of commuters who work and attend school here. In an ongoing effort to provide appropriate services for all domestic violence victims, the Boston Police Department utilizes a portion of JAG funding for the continuation of services by the Civilian Domestic Violence Advocates at the District Level and one Family Justice Center Analyst. The advocates are located in police district stations and provide safety planning, service referral, assistance in navigating the criminal justice process, and advocacy for victims of domestic violence. The advocates monitor the quality of the police response to domestic violence cases through their review of police incident reports, ensuring that mandatory arrest and pro-arrest policies are being carried out. Each of the police advocates have extensive experience in victim advocacy services, working with diverse communities in close partnership with community based providers The Family Justice Center Analyst provides data collection and analysis specific to domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse incidents, identification and tracking of violent repeat offenders, and various policy and research projects for the BPD's Family Justice Division.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

Over the last six months, JAG-funded Boston Police Domestic Violence Advocates served or partially served 504 victims of domestic or dating violence. In addition to providing victim/survivor advocacy (such as safety planning as well as actions designed to assist the victim/survivor in obtaining support, resources, or services, including employment, housing, shelter, health care, etc), “serving” victims an also include civil legal advocacy, criminal justice advocacy, crisis intervention, hospital/clinic/other medical response, language services, and/or transportation. Furthermore, the JAG-funded Family Justice Center Analyst successfully carried out various activities, such as writing grant progress reports, tracking grant-funded travel and overtime, managing important databases and projects, organizing monthly meetings, and compiling/distributing monthly Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) statistical reports.

Domestic Violence Advocacy at the District Level: Intimate partner violence continues to be a serious problem in Boston, with the BPD continuing to receive high volumes of domestic violence-related calls for service and with courthouses throughout the City continuing to process high volumes of domestic violence cases and restraining order applications. In 2010 alone, there were a total of 14,496 domestic violence calls for service in Boston. Often, domestic violence victims turn to the police or the court, not knowing what else to do or where else to go. Patrol officers and detectives give victims basic information about their rights under our domestic violence statutes and some referral information. However, officers do not have the expertise to assist victims with more detailed referral information and safety planning. Civilian advocates in the police stations provide critical referral and support services to victims. Civilian domestic violence advocacy is needed to provide victims with safety planning, assistance navigating the criminal justice response, and accessing culturally responsive services. Furthermore, the Family Justice Center analyst is needed to identify and track repeat offenders, as well as report on and evaluate our efforts.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Cheryl Joyce
Grants Manager Program Coordinator
Phone: 617-343-5858


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