by Sarah Squires
Winona Count Board members were briefed on a new grant program meant to better address domestic assault in Winona County.
Assistant County Attorney Stephanie Nuttall spoke to the board about the $94,000 grant, which will fund a coordinator position for 18 months. That coordinator will help bring together all of the related agencies that work to address domestic violence, such as law enforcement, prosecution, victims’ advocates and human services.
The coordinator is expected to help ensure that the process becomes more cohesive, with agencies becoming more aware of the ways they can assist one another. For example, Nuttall explained, if initial interviews with victims included all of the questions that other agencies needed answers for, and that information was shared in a more effective way, the process will improve outcomes and prevention, and potentially reduce costs.
This year, said Nuttall, Winona County saw 179 domestic assault or protection orders, representing 12.4 percent of all criminal cases. “Clearly, our intervention strategies could use a lot of work,” she said.