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Grant awarded to Pima County hopes to reduce domestic violence with innovative program

Posted at 10:09 PM, Mar 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-03 00:09:57-05

A hefty grant will now help reduce domestic violence in Pima County and get the bigger picture  issue when law enforcement responds to 911 calls. 

Emerge! and several  agencies including Pima County Sheriffs office, Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Attorney's office will receive money for the innovative program ramp.

"Sometimes just understanding just how deadly the situation can be can shift the victims perspective," says Chief Executive Officer, Ed Mercurio-Sakwa of Emerge! Center Against Domestic Violence

In Pima County there are more than 13,000 domestic violence 911 calls a year. 

With the risk assessment, management and prevention (RAMP) program - officers will be trained to ask the proper questions to assess the risk of each case.

Mercurio-Sakwa says, "what this training is going to do is allow that the officer or deputy show up they handle what's happening at the scene but help understand what's the bigger picture and what is the longer term history of abuse and the future risk."

The money will get victims what they need on the scene, through the court system, and help them get out of the abusive situation.

According to Emerge! there has been a shift. 

"It used to be only those who had a felony case involved. and it will now be misdemeanors as well which is 90 plus percent of all dv calls so we're talking about thousands and thousands of additional victims that will now get a risk assessment so they can understand whether they are at risk to be killed or hurt."

Calls are expected to increase because of this shift. 

That's when the $250,000 grant was awarded by the Tucson Foundation's will come in. 

The big change is that as this new process rolls out to include misdemeanors there will be lots and lots of additional victims reaching out which is important but we have to have the services available once they pick up that phone and call.

The money will allow officers and deputies to be fully trained - As well as provide more on scene advocates.