Bizzarro, Harkins, Merski: More than $376,000 for programs to address domestic violence and abuse, curb gun violence

HARRISBURG, Sept. 12 – State grants totaling $376,741 will bolster Erie programs aimed at reducing gun violence and supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, announced today.

The funding – administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency – includes three grants totaling nearly $127,000 under the Victims of Crime Act and one grant of nearly $250,000 under the 2019/20 Gun Violence Reduction Initiative.

“In addition to helping victims of domestic violence and abuse rebuild their lives, this funding will benefit our entire community by reducing gun violence and the shadow of fear it casts,” Bizzarro said. “The Gun Violence Reduction Initiative being funded is based on a deterrence model that has proven successful by targeting high-risk individuals and groups through direct communication, enforcement and outreach. I’m hopeful that we’ll see meaningful results in Erie.”

Harkins added that the funding will also make a difference for those victimized by domestic violence or abuse.

“More than anything, innocent residents whose lives have been shattered by domestic violence or abuse need to feel safe and free from the ongoing threat of violence,” Harkins said. “The PCCD funding will go toward programs that help victims free themselves from the specter of ongoing violence or abuse by obtaining protective orders, finding a safe space, and receiving advice and counseling from trained advocates.”

Merski agreed, saying, “This funding is a great step toward helping everyone in our community thrive. Residents whose lives have been shattered by crime or abuse often face trauma that turns their lives upside down, but the damage does not stop there. Instead, the impact of abuse has a terrible ripple effect on children, grandchildren, parents – everyone. Funding that curbs violence and supports victims helps restore the entire fabric of our community.”    

The grants will go to the following agencies and projects in the following amounts:

Criminal Justice Advisory Committee – 2019/2020 Gun Violence Reduction Initiative
Erie County Chief Executive - -Erie County Gun Violence Reduction Initiative -- $249,996

Victims’ Service Advisory Committee – 2019-20 Victims of Crime Act Funding – Competitive #1 Extension
Protection from Abuse Coordinated Services, Inc. – Court Advocacy -- $53,730
Safe Journey – Safe Journey Ext – $46,526
Safenet: Domestic Violence Safety Network, Inc. – Project Protect – $26,489

PCCD provides planning, coordination, and technical assistance to the state’s criminal justice system and serves as a clearinghouse for state and federal grants to support criminal and juvenile justice efforts.