Millions awarded to Lowcountry groups who help crime victims

Over $10 million of the funding will go towards 32 organizations in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton and Horry Counties.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 3:50 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:12 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Groups that help crime victims across South Carolina will soon be getting more than $31 million in federal and state grants. Some of the funding will go toward organizations in Lowcountry counties.

Over $10 million of the funding will go towards 32 organizations in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton and Horry Counties.

The grants are distributed by the Department of Crime Victim Assistance Grants and consist of four different grant programs: Victims of Crime Act grants; Violence Against Women Act grants; State Victim Assistance Program grants; and Supplemental Allocation for Victims Services grants.

They will fund things like victim advocacy, evidence-based therapy, specialized law enforcement investigators, transitional housing for victims, forensic interviews, residential shelters, forensic nurse examiners and more.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the grants Thursday at the North Charleston City Hall, along with members of the Lowcountry organizations receiving some of the funding.

“If you are sitting at home right now and you have suffered through a crime, I want you to look up here and see there is an army of people ready and willing to serve and support you in some way,” Wilson said.

Winwood Family Services is one of the grant recipients out of Charleston County. They serve boys aged 8 through 16 who are either in the custody of social services for abuse and neglect or whose parents or grandparents need some extra assistance.

“These are children who’ve been sexually assaulted, emotionally abused, unfortunately sex trafficked, and there has to be a place where the community can provide the needed services all in one place for the child,” Executive Director and CEO of Winwood Family Services, Deborah McKelvey, said

She said some of the grant money will go toward funding an Educational Outreach person who helps Winwood boys transition into the Charleston County School District. It’s not always easy for the boys to transition from a small school of 20 on the Winwood campus to a school of 4,000 students, she said.

“We were just so worried because three boys got on that bus and away they went, and all I could think was ‘how are they ever going to survive,’” McKelvey said, “Fast forward three weeks and tonight I’ll be going to a JV football game, because one of our boys made the team.”

Officials with Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center, another grant recipient out of Charleston County, said they plan to use the money for forensic interviews, advocacy services and mental health support for children.

“We don’t charge children and families for any of the services we provide, so these funds help us maintain those services for all citizens of our community,” Kathy Quinones, the director of Grants and Program Evaluation for Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center said.