The City of Columbia discusses grant for domestic violence unit

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia held a meeting Monday to discuss a state grant for the Domestic Violence Enforcement Unit (DOVE). The Violence Against Women Act provided about $158,000 in funding from the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The DOVE Unit coordinates community response from the Columbia Police Department, probation and parole, The Family Counseling Center and True North Domestic Violence Shelter, according to Ward 2 Council Member, Michael Trapp.

The grant renewal would continue funding a portion of the DOVE Unit officers' salaries and would provide 51% of funding for a temporary part-time staff member to assist with the administrative duties of the unit, allowing DOVE officers more time for contact with domestic violence victims. 

"The staff would do advocacy work - going to court with an individual, providing those case management services, referral services. So they will work as an advocate," True North Executive Director Barbara Hodges said.

Hodges said the DOVE Unit in Columbia and Boone County helped True North get information to victims much faster because they can read the police reports.

"In the past, before we had the DOVE Unit, we have to wait for a victim, or a police to come to us," Hodges said.

Trapp said if the grant is not renewed the DOVE Unit would not have the additional support staff.