Missoula City-County Relationship Services just received a three-year, $500,000 grant from the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women to support services to victims of relationship and sexual violence, as well as training for advocates and law enforcement.

Just Response Coordinator Jenny Daniel has details on the grant.

“It offers call time for First Step nurses so that they can work 24 hours a day,” said Daniel. “It offers some stipend money for YWCA advocates who are volunteers and they go to First Step and meet a client there. It supports the crime victim advocate, and they what they do is they help with crime in the police department, so we have a co-located advocate in the police department.”

 Strangulation is the ultimate sign of power and control. If I have my hands around your neck, I can take your life away.

Daniel said the funding provides an emphasis on helping victims of strangulation.

“They do learn like the signs and symptoms, why it's important, and why strangulation is such a bad crime,” she said. “How common the crime is, because it's very, very prevalent. Strangulation is the ultimate sign of power and control. If I have my hands around your neck, I can take your life away, so that's pretty scary.”

Daniel also promoted the Vicarious Trauma Response Initiative that provides emotional and support services for law enforcement and advocates.

“The result of vicarious trauma is a feeling of deep shame and guilt and perhaps suicide or worse,” she said. “The easiest way is just quitting and moving into a different job. But when we have these people trained up and they're really good at their jobs, and then they leave, it hurts the organization and it hurts, our co workers. So I would like to see more ongoing support for people that they not leave their positions and feel supported in their positions.”

The Vicarious Trauma Response Initiative is closely related to the Secondary Trauma training recently introduced by Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst, which is now being implemented in cities throughout the country.