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Gov. Evers announces millions in funding for violence prevention, victim services


MILWAUKEE — State leaders announced Wednesday millions in funding to support victim services and research into violence prevention efforts.

Gov. Tony Evers and other leaders, including Attorney General Josh Kaul, said the $45 million in funding will be split into two portions.

A total of $25 million will go toward statewide research and community-based solutions that address the root causes of violence. The $20 million allocated for victim services will go to the Wisconsin Department of Justice which will use the money to administer grants to programs that work with victims throughout the state.

“We’re working to build the future we want for our kids and our state, and that means working to address the cycle of violence and crime to ensure safe schools, safe streets, and safe communities,” Evers said. “This is another public health crisis that needs our attention and action, and like any public health issue, it starts with prevention. Violence and its effects on kids, families, and communities are not inevitable. We have to focus on the root causes and invest in interventions and community-based solutions, and we have to make sure the trusted folks and organizations who are already doing this work are at the center of this process.”

Of the $25 million set aside for violence prevention, $6.6 million is slated to go to the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Violence Prevention Project. The MCW plans to use the money to support research, data collection, education, and community engagement efforts that focus on violence prevention as a public health issue. The MCW’s Violence Prevention Project will also get an additional $10.4 million to run a grant process in support of other efforts statewide.

The remaining $8 million will go to the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention to support public health approaches to violence prevention.

“We have clearly seen the impact that the pandemic has had on gun violence in Milwaukee and throughout the country,” said Arnitta Holliman, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention. “These resources will be critical for increasing our capacity to prevent, intervene, and respond to the historic levels of violence we are seeing in our city.”

DOJ officials plan to use the $20 million allocated for grants to bolster victim support programs that have reported increased demand for services amid the pandemic and declining funding from the federal government under the Victims of Crime Act. Of the $20 million, $100,000 will go to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The funding comes from money the state received through the American Rescue Plan Act.