COLUMBIA, S.C. — Victims' assistance groups and law enforcement agencies in South Carolina will soon have more in their budgets to aid victims of crime thanks to more than $32 million in federal and state grants.
Approved by the SC Public Safety Coordinating Council, the grants will be distributed by the SC Attorney General's Office Department of Crime Victim Assistance Grants. There are three different types of grants available:
- Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) for compensating and assisting victims of crime and expanding and enhancing direct services. Awarded to both private nonprofits and public agencies, priority VOCA program areas include victims of sexual assault, spousal abuse, child abuse and neglect and previously underserved victims of violent crime.
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funds developing and strengthening law enforcement, prosecution, court, and victim services projects involving domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or teen dating violence.
- State Victims Assistance Program (SVAP) is a result of the Omnibus Criminal Justice Improvements Act passed by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1986. A percentage of wages earned by inmates participating in the SC Department of Corrections' Work Release Program must be deposited with the State Treasurer for credit to a special account to support victim assistance programs.
Agencies can receive more than one type of grant, and more than one grant within a grant category.
Statewide, $1,298,271 will be allocated in a combination of VOCA grants to SC Department of Public Safety/Highway Patrol Division, SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED), SC Department of Social Services (DSS), SC Department of Child Advocacy; SVAP grant to Department of Crime Victim Assistance; and VAWA to the SC Attorney General's Office.
Funding in the Midlands
In Kershaw County, The Family Resource Center has been granted $504,976 in VOCA funds for access to specialized mental health treatment and advocacy support services.
In Lexington County, VOCA funds are headed to Lexington County Sheriff's Office, Sistercare Inc., Dickerson Children's Advocacy Center and Eleventh Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office (Solicitor Rick Hubbard); VAWA grants to Lexington County Sheriff's Office and Sistercare Inc.; SVAP grant to Sistercare Inc. A total of $1,962,024.
In Orangeburg County, VOCA grants are given to the First Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office and CASA/Family Systems totaling $285,570.
In Richland County, VOCA grants are allocated to Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office, Richland County CASA Foundation, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, Prisma Health Midlands, SC Network of Children's Advocacy Centers, Epworth Children's Home, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, SC Victim Assistance Network, City of Columbia (for a new project that will provide an additional victim advocate managing the day-to-day operations of the Victim Advocates Unit), Richland County Sheriff's Department; VAWA grants allocated for Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office, Richland County Sheriff's Department (advocacy program with emphasis on the Hispanic community), SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; SVAP funds to SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, SC Network of Children's Advocacy Centers and The Nurturing Center. A total of $4,409,241.