Governor Parson Creates New Grant Programs to Tackle Crimes Against Children; Victim Support Center hopes for money for additional resources

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Governor Mike Parson announced $ 4 million in new grant opportunities to fight crimes against children and provide additional funding to agencies that provide services to victims of crime.

Victim Center development director Shelly Drymon said any additional funding would be used to hire more staff, allowing more victims of crime to get the help they need.

“We offer counseling to children, to anyone who has been the victim of a crime, so additional therapists would be really beneficial with this type of money,” said Drymon. “We could get more children through the door so they can get the help they need. “

Drymon says it’s crucial to provide these resources to children as soon as possible.

“Untreated trauma in people’s lives causes depression, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, an inability to be in the workplace, an inability to have good interpersonal relationships,” says Drymon. “It just causes a whole bunch of problems.”

That’s why she is thrilled that Governor Parson is investing $ 4 million in grant programs to provide this additional support.

“The past two years have created difficulties and strained resources across the country, but the reported increase in crimes affecting children and the difficulties faced by agencies providing essential services to victims of crime are of greatest concern,” Governor Parson said. “These new grant programs will allow us to better investigate and prosecute criminals who victimize children and to support domestic violence service agencies and child advocates that serve our most vulnerable citizens and help bring criminals to justice. ”

A total of $ 2 million in grant opportunities is being made available to help law enforcement and local prosecutors tackle crimes against children, which have increased in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic .

“We would like to see this money really go to ensuring that abusers are brought to justice and to obtain justice for the victims,” said Drymon.

Crimes against children have increased during the pandemic. Drymon says out-of-school children played a role in this.

“If they were mistreated, they spent more time with their abuser and were probably reported less because teachers, school counselors and nurses didn’t have their eyes on the children,” says Drymon.

Additional grant opportunities of $ 2 million are being made available to support victim service agencies, which have reported an increase in service referrals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They don’t escape or are not relieved by the abuser, so we have this silent epidemic brewing under this pandemic,” Drymon said.

Drymon says crimes against children don’t just impact this child.

“It creates a ripple effect throughout,” says Drymon. “It starts with the child, spills over into the family, spills over to the mother and father or the life, work, school in general of non-abusive parents, which then affects the community.”

The Victim Support Center has a 24-hour crisis line for anyone in need of assistance. This number is 417-864-7233.

The two competitive grants will use funds previously allocated to Missouri by the federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplementary Funding (CESF) program. The US Bureau of Justice Assistance has approved the reallocation of funds from the CESF program to address emerging needs that were not apparent when the CESF opportunity was initially made available. No local twinning is required to access funding. The grants will be administered by the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

The Crimes Against Children / Sexual Crimes grant funding opportunity is slated to open on August 1. Projects may include hiring additional staff to investigate, prosecute and detect crimes against children.

The funding opportunity for the Victims of Crime Grant is scheduled to open on September 1. Projects may include providing assistance to domestic violence service agencies and child advocacy centers and helping other entities serving victims of vulnerable populations affected by the COVID pandemic. 19.

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