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Federal funding triples for N.D. crime victim assistance

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will see a more than threefold increase in funding to support services for victims of human trafficking and other crimes, the state’s U.S. senators announced Wednesday.

The department will receive nearly $4.93 million in 2015 through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime.

That’s more than triple the $1.47 million the state received in 2014 for victim assistance. The allocation was roughly $1.38 million in 2013 and $1.26 million in 2012.

The state will distribute the funds to public and private organizations that provide direct services to assist crime victims and their families, according to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

The money can be used to expand, develop and implement services such as professional training, counseling, dispatchers and law enforcement officers.

“North Dakota’s increase in population has also led to an increase in crime across the state, putting a strain on our existing resources,” Heitkamp said in a news release, citing feedback about a particular need for assistance for victims of human trafficking and sexual violence.

Republican Sen. John Hoeven, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement that the funding “will help victims of crime gain better access to the support and services they need.”

Hoeven and Heitkamp both co-sponsored the Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act of 2015.

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