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Print Version-House Funds Capuano's Initiative to Help Young Witnesses

PRESS RELEASE

House Funds Capuano's Initiative to Help Young Witnesses


June 29, 2006

Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-MA)'s legislation establishing a grant program for young witness assistance initiatives was funded at $3 million when the House passed H.R. 5672: the Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations bill today.

"We have all heard stories about young people who are harassed and even harmed because they are willing to speak out about a crime. It is critical that the federal government provide state and local authorities with additional resources to assist young people who try to do the right thing. States and municipalities cannot do it alone," stated Rep. Capuano.

Grants may be used to develop and administer a variety of witness assistance programs including:

  • Counseling services for young witnesses dealing with the trauma of observing a violent crime;
  • Pre- and post-trial assistance for young witnesses and their families;
  • Educational services for young witnesses who are removed from or change their school for safety concerns;
  • Protective services for young witnesses and their families when a serious threat of harm from the perpetrators or their associates is made;
  • Community outreach and school-based initiatives that stimulate and maintain public awareness and support.

Rep. Capuano first filed legislation to protect juvenile witnesses in 1999 after learning about a young boy forced into hiding when he told authorities about a crime he witnessed.

"We must support those who take a courageous stand against violent crime in their communities. This funding will help state and local officials establish effective programs and expand existing initiatives," Rep. Capuano stated.

H.R. 5672 now awaits Conference Committee action.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208

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