More than $750,000 will be restored for the current budget year to assist domestic violence and sexual assault victims, the Alaska Department of Law announced Wednesday.

Under House Bill 2001, the Legislature last month restored more than $300 million of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s $400 million-plus vetoes. This week the administration has shared some of the funding Dunleavy plans to keep safe from a second veto, such as money for senior citizens, pre-school children and the University of Alaska.

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson and the Alaska Legal Services Corp. on Wednesday announced Dunleavy’s intent to restore $759,000 as part of HB 2001.

"Helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault is a vital service provided by our organization," said Nikole Nelson, executive director of ALSC, in a joint news release with the Department of Law. "We are relieved that this funding will remain available and excited to continue our efforts in addressing the unacceptable rates of domestic abuse and sexual violence that plague our state."

The news comes one day after Clarkson announced a series of initiatives to jump start the departments pro bono program that features collaborating with the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Attorney General Clarkson's plan currently includes three major initiatives:

  •      Once per quarter, Clarkson will host a sexual assault and domestic violence clinic day where Alaska attorneys, including those in the Department of Law, can volunteer time to assist victims;
  •      Every month, Department of Law attorneys will be encouraged, though not required, to assist with the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault's hotline;
  •      Clarkson will increase the number of hours that Department of Law attorneys can volunteer to do pro bono work for victims.

Nelson recently approached Clarkson about the funding at an event celebrating the Pro Bono Work to Empower and Represent Act, also known as the POWER Act, advanced to passage last year by U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

"I am committed to making inroads on this issue, and ALSC and I have common goals in that regard," said Clarkson in the joint statement with Nelson. "I appreciate Ms. Nelson coming forward on this, and I appreciate the legislature and the governor's actions to restore this vital funding. We must bring down our rates of domestic violence and sexual assault."

The money comes from $309,090 form filing fees and $450,000 from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, according to the news release.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misnamed the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault as the Alaska Network of Domestic Violence.

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