The Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Center in Baton Rouge has received two federal grants worth more than $1.1 million to expand services for sexual assault victims in the metro area, the center announced Monday.
Racheal Hebert, executive director for the nonprofit STAR Center, said the funds will allow the center to hire six new employees in the coming months.
The money is coming from grant programs within the Office on Violence Against Women, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The first grant, for $500,000 over a three-year period, is from the Legal Assistance to Victims Program, Hebert said. The money will be used in partnership with the LSU Law Center to provide free legal assistance to sexual assault victims and to create a law clinic to train students on the intricacies of dealing with sexual assault victims, which has been a long-term plan of STAR.
The second grant, for $650,000 over three years, is from the Grants to Encourage Arrest program, Hebert said.
The state Attorney General’s Office applied for the grant on behalf of STAR, she said. The money will allow STAR to develop sexual assault investigation and prosecution protocols, to build training regimens for law enforcement, prosecutors and judges, to develop sexual assault response teams in the Capital Region and to expand victims’ services into rural regions, Hebert said.
All the programs that will be created from the grant money will begin around Jan. 1, Hebert said.
“These projects will allow STAR to strengthen our direct advocacy services to survivors, create new services to address the legal needs of survivors, enhance collaboration with our medical and criminal justice partners, and develop regional protocols to address sexual assault in the Capital Region,” Hebert said in the release.