Carbondale website to help disabled victims of violence

By Gus Bode

The Carbondale City Council will award a contract Tuesday to a company that will design a new state-of-the-art Web site that would assist disabled victims of crime.

The Carbondale Police Department received the SafePlace Grant to help organizations from the city strengthen their ability to identify and serve crime victims with disabilities.

The grant came from SafePlace, an organization based in Austin, Texas. It was created in 1996 to provide assistance, training and education to disability service providers, people with disabilities, their family members, victim service workers and criminal justice personnel.

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According to the organization, adults and children with disabilities are up to 10 times more likely to be victims of violence or abuse.

On July 6, the grant increased the budget of the police department by $120,000. A portion of this money will be used to establish the Web site package, which will also include brochures and magnets for distribution.

The city received a proposal from one company in the amount of $24,700 for the Web site and a separate proposal from another company for printing material in the package for $1,692.

Only one company proposed to cover the entire package for $27,737. The grant committee said it would prefer if the city received all of the services from one organization.

The committee consists of representatives from Southern Illinois Social Services, the Center for Comprehensive Services, Center for Independent Living, the Women’s Center, SIU Disability Services, SIU Center for Rural Health and Social Services, Specialized Training for Adult Rehabilitation and the Carbondale Police Department.

Carbondale City Councilwoman Sheila Simon said the website is something Carbondale could use.

“It sounds like a good thing so far,” Simon said.

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The council will also vote on a proposed ordinance that would place pedestrian crosswalks on South Wall Street.

The proposed ordinance was created after the University Department of Public Safety contacted the city expressing concern for student and visitors at University Hall, who walk across the street frequently.

The University recently purchased the building and City Councilman Lance Jack said the proposed ordinance was a collaboration between the city and the University.

While there are crosswalks already present on the street, no official city ordinance requires them to be there.

If the council approves the proposed ordinance, it would establish two official pedestrian crosswalks in the area.

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