SPRINGFIELD - The state has hired two additional attorneys to help fight domestic violence and sexual assault cases against women in Illinois.
The Illinois appellate prosecutor's office received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to hire attorneys who mostly will help prosecute cases in counties with smaller staffs.
In addition to paying the prosecutors' salaries, the grant will support advocacy groups, a resource book for judges presiding over sexual assault cases and coordination efforts with local police.
"With the added resources we're going to be able to accomplish the objective of bringing everyone together and focusing on all the issues we need to address collectively to combat these issues," said Rock Island County State's Attorney Jeff Terronez.
Five county prosecutor's offices, including Tazewell's, are set to train the two new employees.
"We have very seasoned prosecutors that can help mentor," said Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart J. Umholtz, who has had a specialized unit for domestic violence since 1995.
Umholtz said he handles approximately 100 domestic violence cases a year. In 2008, 11,733 were served by the sexual assault crisis centers of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.