Robert Bentley grants $1.9 million in aid to assist rape and abuse victims across Alabama

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Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded grants totaling $1.9 million in support of nonprofit groups that assist rape and abuse victims in south and central Alabama.

The Montgomery Area Family Violence Program, commonly known as the Family Sunshine Center, is using $1.4 million in grant funds to aid domestic violence victims in Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Dallas, Elmore, Lowndes, Montgomery, Perry, and Wilcox counties.

  • The Family Sunshine Center offers counseling services, case management, advocacy and safe shelter for abuse victims. A portion of the grant funds will help renovate a children’s playground at the organization’s emergency shelter. The playground is used as an outdoor play space to assist children as they recover from the trauma and stabilize their lives through therapeutic childcare and play. Matching funds of $129,660 are supplementing the grants.The agency also is one of 17 domestic violence centers in the state to receive additional funding through the state’s Domestic Violence Trust Fund. The fund, created through the state marriage license fee, is distributed quarterly to the agencies and is used to provide shelter for victims and to conduct educational and prevention programs.

Lighthouse Counseling Center is using $290,000 in grants to continue its Standing Together Against Rape program for victims of sexual assault in Autauga, Butler, Crenshaw, Elmore, Lowndes, Montgomery, Perry, and Wilcox counties.

  • Lighthouse Counseling Centers provide crisis counseling, two mobile units to assist victims who live in rural areas, advocacy services, and accompaniment to court hearings as well as a 24-hour crisis line and transportation services.The program also uses volunteer registered nurses who are specially trained to care for victims and collect evidence. The volunteers conduct the exams privately to spare victims the stress of visiting a hospital emergency room where privacy may be limited and wait times can be lengthy. Matching funds of $62,638 will supplement the grant.

Child Protect is using $144,000 to continue providing services for child victims in Autauga, Elmore, and Montgomery counties.

  • Child Protect provides counseling, forensic interviews, and family advocacy to children and caregivers. Matching funds of $33,751 are supplementing the grant.

Legal Services Alabama is using a $64,775 grant to provide attorneys to represent low-income clients in domestic violence cases in Autauga, Bullock, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Elmore, Lowndes, Montgomery, and Pike counties. Matching funds of $16,193 are supplementing the grant.

  • LSA serves low-income people by providing civil legal aid and by promoting collaboration to find solutions to problems of poverty.

“Abuse victims of all ages should have access to specialized care that can help them begin recovery and seek justice for the crimes committed against them,” Bentley said. “I commend the staff and volunteers from these organizations for their continued work and commitment to helping those most in need.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ADECA manages a wide array of programs that support law enforcement and traffic safety, energy conservation, water resource management, economic development, and recreation.

“Through ADECA’s partnerships with these organizations, we are ensuring that those who unfortunately become victims of abuse will have a safe place to turn for professional assistance as they escape abusive situations and begin recovery,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said.

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