New Jersey misses out on nearly $22 million in Justice Department grants

When the Justice Department announced nearly $22 million in grant funding, New Jersey was not slated to receive any awards to address and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on college campuses, provide services to youth victims and children exposed to such violence and engage men and boys as allies.

“For decades, New Jersey has received far less from the federal government than our residents send to Washington DC in tax dollars,” said Lisa McCormick, who blamed her 2018 primary election opponent, Sen. Bob Menendez, Sen. Cory Booker and the rest of the state’s congressional delegation.

The weak return on federal tax dollars was confirmed last year in separate reports by the Rutgers Economic Advisory Service and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, each comparing the amount of federal tax dollars paid by each state with the allocations of federal funding received.

New Jersey will receive nothing from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), which is awarding $10,688,200 through 36 grants to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault on college campuses through the Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking on Campus Program (Campus).

New Jersey will also receive nothing from the Consolidated Youth and Engaging Men Grant Program (CYEM), which will award $11,031,653 through 25 grants to implement programming that encourages men and boys to be role models and change agents in their communities working toward the goal of eliminating sexual and domestic violence.

“Studies show that approximately one in five women surveyed have been victimized by sexual assault while in college,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “We need to support college campuses with the resources to create a campus culture that is not tolerant of sexual assault or dating violence.”

“These grants will help colleges and universities develop prevention policies, offer survivor-centered services, and train campus police to meet the needs of their students,” said Gupta. “These grants also provide critical intervention services to children and young adults, in addition to engaging them to be leaders in combatting violence.”

Of particular note, the Campus awards include support for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic serving institutions (HSIs), and Tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). 

“One of OVW’s top priorities is to improve our outreach and services to underserved communities,” said OVW Acting Director Allison Randall. “We recognize that HBCUs, HSIs and TCUs face unique issues and challenges in preventing and responding to campus violence and we’re honored to work with grantees in 2023 and in the years to come to support survivors. We’re grateful to announce these awards during September when we are celebrating National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week and in recognition of the National HBCU Week conference held by the White House.”    

The Campus Program supports higher education institutions in developing services and programs that are designed to address and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking on campus. Grantees are required to adopt a multidisciplinary response program that involves student affairs, student health, athletics, residence life, law enforcement and victim service providers. They also provide incoming students with prevention and educational programs about sexual and domestic violence, training for campus police and security and training for judicial and disciplinary board members. 

The CYEM Program serves victims 24 and younger and promotes boys’ and men’s roles in combating violence against women and girls. Grantees provide services for youth who are victims of or exposed to sexual and domestic violence, youth victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, counseling, mentoring and support for non-abusing parents and caretakers.

Grantees also provide training for programs on how to safely identify children and families who are experiencing domestic violence and refer them to programs that can provide services. Grantees also create public education campaigns to encourage men and boys to be allies to women and girls in preventing sexual and domestic violence.

Federal tax dollars have been distributed in large part to Republican-controlled states, where most officials oppose the government programs financed by these grants, while New Jersey and other Blue states have been shortchanged.

These frequent incidents of cheating New Jersey have been cited as examples of poor advocacy among the state’s congressional delegation.

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