COLUMBIA, SC (WBTV) - The South Carolina Attorney General announced how much grant money will be awarded to the state to help victims of crime at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Starting October 1, more $38 million in federal and state grants will be dispersed across the state to help non-profits and state agencies that work with victims.
The funds come from the South Carolina Crime Victim Services Division, which was added to the Attorney General's Office by state law earlier this year. None of the grant money comes from taxpayers but instead comes from fines and penalties that are paid into the Victim of Crime Act funds.
According to the South Carolina Attorney General's office, it does not add to the national debt or deficit.
Attorney General Alan Wilson announced in York County that near $2.5 million of the grant money would be given to organizations across York, Chester, and Lancaster Counties.
"We're trying to highlight and score those groups that exist because many victims of crime probably don't know that these services are out there," Wilson said. "They are really the unsung heroes... the stories that aren't being told are the stories of the men and women who are out there providing services."
Lancaster County agencies will receive $458,656 from the grant. It will go toward the Sheriff's Office and its victim advocates consolidation, which helps with victims of domestic violence.
In York County, the Sheriff's Office, the City of Rock Hill, Safe Passage, Children's Attention Home, the Solicitor's Office and Catawba Indian nation will receive more than $1.5 million for various victims services.
In Chester County, more than $257,000 will go toward the Chester Municipal Court and the Solicitor's office.
According to the City of Chester's Grant Coordinator, they already used grant money from last year to start a new court specifically for domestic violence cases.
"We had 48 cases that were not solved, some of them dating back ten years ago," Curtis said. "This grant has helped reopen this issue, we resolved 21 cases in the last eight months."
With recent national reports ranking South Carolina as 5th in the nation for women killed in domestic violence situations, Curtis says they need to make more progress in solving and preventing these crimes.
"It's real for us, it's not just the statistics we're reading about," Curtis said.
She says with the success of the first year of the new court, they hope to expand it to include county domestic violence cases with this grant money.