TENNESSEE RECEIVES $6.1 MILLION FOR CRIME VICTIM SERVICES
NASHVILLE – Governor Phil Bredesen and First Lady Andrea Conte today announced $6,106,000 has been awarded to Tennessee to enhance crime victim services in Tennessee. The funds, awarded through the Victims of Crime Act, are provided from the Crime Victims Fund established by the Office for Victims of Crime, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Healing begins when crime survivors acknowledge that they cannot change the past but do have the power to make a difference in the future,” Conte said. “This funding is a lifeline to crime victims’ organizations in Tennessee that are so important in helping survivors continue to live and thrive.”
The funds are made available through VOCA’s Victim Assistance Formula. Each year, states and territories receive VOCA funds to support community-based organizations that serve crime victims. The grant money is used to support domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, child abuse programs, and victim service units in law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices, hospitals, and social service agencies. These programs provide services that include crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, criminal justice advocacy and emergency transportation.
Tennessee gives priority to programs serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Additional funds are set aside for underserved victims, such as survivors of homicide victims and victims of drunk drivers.
Conte is founder and president of You Have the Power...Know How to Use It, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to raising awareness about crime and justice issues. In April of this year, she received the National Crime Victim Service Award from U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey in Washington, D.C. The award honors national leaders for extraordinary efforts in direct service to crime victims.
As First Lady, Conte worked to create a statewide Commission on Crime Victims Assistance. Established in August 2003, the citizen commission is responsible for providing recommendations regarding benefits and other issues associated with the Criminal Injury Compensation Fund. Conte also helped establish "A Tennessee Season to Remember," an annual memorial event honoring Tennesseans who have lost their lives to violent crime.
In 2004, Conte launched a walk across the state to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and the role of Tennessee's Child Advocacy Centers in helping children recover. Her journey took her more than 600 miles and raised more than one million dollars.