Pence reallocates earmarked domestic violence funds 

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Forty-three domestic violence programs across Indiana will be eligible to receive $344,000 in additional funding under a plan the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute announced Monday.

The money will come on top of $2.55 million the ICJI board has approved for the groups so far this fiscal year and another $1.1 million that the board has also agreed to set aside.

If all the money is distributed, it will bring the state’s total spending on domestic violence programs to $4.2 million this year. That’s about 35 percent more than the state spent last year.

“At Gov. (Mike) Pence’s direction, applications for these funds will be expedited so they can be made available to shelters as soon as possible,” said Mary Allen, ICJI’s executive director.

The $344,000 in newly available money had been originally earmarked for domestic violence programs last year. But the Pence administration moved it back to the state’s general fund as part of a larger effort to save money. State Budget Director Brian Bailey acknowledged last week that might have been a mistake and officials were looking into returning the money.

The funding comes as shelters and other programs are handling increased calls, due in part to the release of a video showing NFL star Ray Rice punching his then-fiance in the face and dragging her unconscious body out of a hotel elevator.

The money also comes just days after a group that represents domestic violence groups questioned why the state hadn’t spent all the money it had available for the programs. On Friday, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute board pledged to get the cash out quickly – much of it after it received updated information from the groups about how the money would be spent.

On Monday afternoon, ICJI staff met with the Domestic Violence Treatment and Prevention Council to discuss how to best distribute the funds. The council is responsible for developing a statewide domestic violence plan and working with shelters to address programming and develop their budgets.

The domestic violence programs will submit their budgets and plans on how the money will be spent to the council, which will review the information and make recommendations to an ICJI subcommittee for final approval.

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