Readout of Office of Justice Programs Leadership Visit to Charleston to Announce Grant Awards
Office of Justice Programs Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon and Kris Rose, Director of OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime, last week traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, to announce almost $9 million in grant funding will be awarded to the Medical University of South Carolina to advance the mission of the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center.
“We wish for a world without violence and victimization,” said AAG Solomon. “Our North Star is to prevent these events altogether. But until then, we are so fortunate to be working with the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center. This new grant from the Office for Victims of Crime will continue the center’s vital work by expanding our foundation of evidence-based practices centered on addressing the behavioral health needs of survivors. It will enable the center to provide more training and site-based assistance, including community-based learning collaboratives that will help strengthen emergency response strategies. And it will support a national conference to convene experts and stakeholders to share best practices.”
The award was announced at an event hosted by the resource center at the Medical University of South Carolina where leaders of the resource center spoke on the services provided and the purposes of the new grant. Leadership was able to visit the NMVVRC offices and meet key staff members of the resource center.
Established in 2017 through an investment from the Office of Justice Programs’ Office for Victims of Crime, the resource center’s mission is to improve community preparedness and the nation’s capacity to serve victims and communities recovering from mass violence incidents through research, planning, training, technology and collaboration.
Comprised of researchers, scholars, victim assistance professionals, technical experts and partner organizations, the resource center uses science-based evidence to highlight crime victims’ needs and challenges, while determining the best and most effective ways to address these needs and improve victim mental health services through training and technical assistance.
Leadership also visited Mother Emanuel AME Church, where a horrific mass shooting took place during a bible study session in June of 2015, and met with church leaders who spoke on the historical significance of the church in African American community. The 2015 mass violence incident played a crucial role in the creation of the resource center.
“In a nation that has become far too familiar with the taking of lives, the murder of the Emanuel Nine gathered our resolve to face the hate that fuels so much of the violence in our country,” said OVC Director Rose. “My office, OVC, provided funding for the Center in 2017 because it was clear to us that we needed to look at mass violence from a broader perspective, to review these incidents in the context of other incidents, to forge new research and obtain a clearer understanding of how these tragedies happen and how they impact and influence our communities over time. I know that community leaders across the country are better prepared because of the incredible team assembled at the NMVVRC.”
The grant funding is part of close to $1.8 billion OJP will be awarding to support state victim assistance and compensation programs that will expand access to victim services across the country, including supporting historically underserved communities, providing victim-centered, trauma-informed and culturally responsive services and building the capacity of victim service programs.
About the Office of Justice Programs
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance equity and fairness in the administration of justice, assist victims and uphold the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.