Sustained Outrage

STOP Violence Against Women grants announced

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On Friday, Gov. Joe Manchin announced the distribution of federal funds from the Office on Violence Against Women, a part of the U.S. Department of Justice. All told, 24 projects in West Virginia received almost $1 million in grant money. The grants are part of the STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) Program, initiated under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and renewed in the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 and Violence Against Women Act of 2005.

“The purpose of these funds is to establish or enhance teams whose core members include victim service providers, law enforcement, and prosecution to improve the criminal justice system’s response to violence against women,” the governor’s news release states. “Grants provide personnel, equipment, enhancement of those teams. Additionally, statewide projects are funded to provide training and educational opportunities for all victim service providers, law enforcement, prosecution, and court personnel across the state.”

The funds are administered locally by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. A complete list of the agencies and the amounts awarded is after the jump.

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FBI releases 2008 hate crime statistics

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On Monday, the FBI published its summary of hate crimes in America in 2008.

These are the FBI’s bullet points:

An analysis of the 7,780 single-bias incidents revealed that 51.3 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 19.5 percent were motivated by a religious bias, 16.7 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation bias, and 11.5 percent were motivated by an ethnicity/national origin bias. One percent involved a bias against a disability.

There were 5,542 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2008. Intimidation accounted for 48.8 percent of crimes against persons, simple assaults for 32.1 percent, and aggravated assaults for 18.5 percent. Seven murders were reported as hate crimes.

There were 3,608 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property; the majority (82.3 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. The remaining 17.7 percent of crimes against property consisted of robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses.

Of the 6,927 known offenders, 61.1 percent were white and 20.2 percent were black. The race was unknown for 11.0 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders

The largest percentage (31.9 percent) of hate crime incidents occurred in or near homes; followed by 17.4 percent on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 11.7 percent at schools or colleges; 6.1 percent in parking lots or garages; and 4.2 percent in churches, synagogues, or temples. The remaining 28.8 percent of hate crime incidents took place at other specified locations, multiple locations, or other/unknown locations.

In West Virginia, 23 agencies reported 43 hate crimes. Interestingly, the FBI also listed different jurisdictions (cities, counties, etc.) that reported zero hate crimes during 2008. Happily, after the headline-grabbing accounts of what happened to Megan Williams in Big Creek in 2007 (and all the subsequent commotion), Logan County reported no hate crimes in 2008.

The same is not true of some of West Virginia’s most populated counties, including Kanawha and Monongalia (although Morgantown had none).