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Massachusetts YWCA awarded domestic violence grant

The Justice Department recently awarded a grant of $300,000 from the Office of Violence Against Women to the western Massachusetts chapter of the YWCA to help them in their fight against domestic violence. The six-figure grant was written in collaboration with Community Grants Association and gives the organization the funds to continue providing services to women and children who have been victimized by domestic violence. Some of the funded programs include counseling for mental health, substance abuse, job readiness training, crisis intervention and case management.

The YWCA provides women and families impacted by domestic violence with temporary housing while they recover from the traumas inflicted on them by their abusers. This grant will now also provide an employment navigator to meet and counsel individuals and families in the program and help to identify and remove barriers to successful employment for adults. This may also include providing them with continuing education and other supportive services as they work toward goals of safety and independence.

This chapter of the YWCA was one of the agencies funded by the federal government that was able to remain open during the recent government shutdown. Past projects include construction of a housing facility in Springfield for battered women and their children in 2004 at a cost of over $7 million and an $8 million expansion only three years ago.

The grant will be administered in partnership with several local agencies, including the Hampden County District Attorney's Office and the Springfield Police Department.

Those victimized by domestic violence, including stalking and violence associated with dating, can have lasting mental and emotional scars. Unlike physical scars, these scars may not fade with time. It's reassuring to know that there is a place in western Massachusetts where their needs can be addressed and they can receive counseling or referrals for legal aid if necessary.

Source: masslive.com, "YWCA of Western Massachusetts receives $300,000 federal domestic violence grant" Anne-Gerard Flynn, The Republican, Oct. 14, 2013

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