$500K federal grant will help treat victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Provo

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PROVO, Utah — The people who take care of crime victims in Provo just got a big financial boost. The Provo Police Department received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for $538,739.00.

Kortney Hughes heads up the Victim Services program for the police department. Her team is what you would consider first responders for victims of domestic violence and sex assault.

“They’re making personal contacts with these victims. Letting them know who they are, what we do, and what sort of services we can offer to help them through the process.”

With growing caseloads and the need for more immediate resources, the department applied for a federal grant in February. This week, they were approved for more than half a million dollars.

“I’m really excited. This will be an incredible opportunity for our department and collaborating members to move forward and improve services,” said Hughes.

They will hire a part-time victim advocate, a detective and prosecutor specializing in domestic violence cases and provide legal services for victims, including immigration assistance.

Right now, sexual assault victims are treated at the Gappmayer Clinic, a family clinic. Often times, victims must wait for hours to get an exam, further traumatizing them.

“We don`t want them to have to go without hygiene, food, those types of things that need to wait for evidence purposes when there is a sexual assault.”

The money will go towards creating a forensic nursing team who will be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“What this will actually do is help improve services to victims for those exams so they can get them much quicker,” said Hughes.

It’s another added benefit to help victims heal physically and emotionally.

For more information about Victim Services Program, visit: http://www.provo.org/city-services/police/divisions/victim-services-copy

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