York County’s longtime anti-domestic violence agency has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant to reduce youth dating violence and sexual assault.

Caring Unlimited will receive $497,000 over three years from the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women Consolidated Youth Program, one of 16 grants nationwide. The grant was announced by the office of U.S. Attorney for Maine Darcie N. McElwee on Saturday.

Darcie McElwee, U.S. attorney for the District of Maine Photo courtesy Sen. Susan Collins’ office

Caring Unlimited plans to partner with Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, Maine Boys to Men, and Saltwater Vineyard Church. The groups said they will make a strategic plan, starting with a needs assessment countywide, and will tailor its programming to create opportunities for youth leadership against dating violence and sexual assault.

“As a community, we all have a responsibility and a role to play in changing the conditions that allow domestic violence to persist,” said Caring Unlimited Executive Director Susan Giambalvo in a statement.

Caring Unlimited has worked to end domestic violence in York County since 1977, and serves about 2,000 people annually through its 24-hour helpline, emergency domestic violence shelter and legal assistance, and relies on volunteers to provide services and help community members.

“Maine continues to experience a significant problem with incidents of domestic violence,” said McElwee. “We are proud of Caring Unlimited’s achievement and look forward to the work ahead as domestic violence prevention will be a priority for my office.”

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