Federal grant in Wisconsin to help protect abuse victims

MADISON— A Wisconsin district attorney's office is using a $100,000 federal grant under the Victims of Crime Act to provide protection to those who've suffered domestic abuse.

The grant for Dane County will be used to purchase alarms that'll alert police when someone tries to enter a victim's home, Wisconsin Public Radio reported . They'll be connected to the county's 911 center and operated with a pendant that can be worn on the neck or placed in the home.

The victims will also receive a radio that is set to frequencies used by local law enforcement.

"The response to these alarms once sounded will be swift and strong," said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. "We want to put potential perpetrators on notice that violence of any type will not be tolerated in our community."

Dane County plans to contribute $26,000 to match the federal grant, which officials say adds another layer of protection for those who are vulnerable to attack. Officials said they applied for federal funding because the lack of housing options for those at risk of violence.

"The community needs to know and recognize that victims are not being adequately protected and we need to come together to solve this problem," said Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.

The housing crunch comes as domestic violence is increasing and many victims have few places to go.

"We have more people seeking our services than ever before," said Shannon Barry, executive director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, or DAIS. "In 2017, we fielded over 18,000 calls on our 24-hour helpline."

According to Wisconsin Public Radio, more than 70 people from the state died in 2016 due to domestic violence.