S.C. victims’ services groups will receive millions in grant money

SC Victim Services Grants

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Nearly $37 million in federal and state grants are coming to South Carolina victims' services groups.

Those awarded will receive the money starting Oct. 1.

The money goes to private non-profit groups, and there are three different types of grants: Victims of Crime Act, Violence Against Women Act, and THE State Victim Assistance Program.

These grants would help provide many services for those in need, for example paying for transitional shelters for domestic violence victims and their children.

The grants are given by the South Carolina Crime Victim Services Division in the state Attorney General’s Office.

“The amount we received from the federal government is lower this year because there’s been less court activity during the pandemic, but the needs that these groups address are still there," Attorney General Alan Wilson said.

Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson weighed in on why this money is so important each year.

“Hopefully we never go through something like domestic violence or child molestation. But we are all subject to being victims at some point, and it’s just a tremendous need in our community, and we need to be able to help our fellow man and we need to get past this COVID to take care of that," he said.

Some of the organizations are adjusting to the much smaller dollar amount they’ll be getting this year.

The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault depends on the grant money to pay many expenses throughout the year.

Ellen Hamilton, executive director Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault, said the cut in the amount of grant money they’re receiving has caused them to reduce positions and hours. The state Attorney General’s Office says the organization will receive over $2.45 million in grants.

While that may seem like a lot of money, Hamilton said this is a cut for this year. The coalition provides services to victims in the community, a transitional shelter, and child abuse services.

Hamilton added the money is critical, and they couldn’t do what they do for victims without the grants. But because they have received less money, they have no choice but to make changes.

“What we did was eliminated a number of positions. For instance, we had to eliminate in the transitional shelter. We had to cut an advocate position," she said.

Hamilton also noted they’ve had to reduce the amount that’s paid by the grant for medical services at the Durant Child’s Center.

October also kicks off domestic violence awareness month, and the coalition is doing their own event.

For a full list of groups receiving grant money, click here.

Hamilton said they have a regional Breaking Free From Domestic Violence virtual race, which benefits their emergency safe shelter that serves the region.

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