MONTGOMERY – Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded a grant totaling $242,004 to support the nonprofit agency Victim Services of Cullman, which assists abuse victims in Cullman County.
The grants will help Victim Services of Cullman continue offering a crisis hotline, emergency shelter, counseling and other services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the county.
“The road to recovery can be long for those who have suffered from abuse, but professional assistance can go a long way in helping them take the first steps,” Bentley said. “I commend the staff and volunteers of Victim Services for the compassionate care they provide to those needing assistance.”
The organization also provides a domestic violence prevention and intervention program in an effort to change the behavior of an abusive partner and to hold the person accountable for their actions.
“The board of directors and staff of Victim Services of Cullman are extremely thankful to Gov. Bentley and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (Law Enforcement Division) for the grant that has been awarded to Victim Services to operate our shelter, Harbor Haus, and our Batterers Interventions Program. VSOC also offers programs for sexual assault and community education,” said Donna Jacobs, executive director of Victim Services of Cullman.
“Those fleeing from abusive situations need and deserve a safe place to turn for free professional assistance,” ADECA Director Jim Byard, Jr. said. “Through ADECA’s partnership with Victim Services of Cullman, we are helping to ensure that abuse survivors in the area will continue to have access to that kind of assistance.”
Bentley notified Tommie Sanders, president of the Victim Services of Cullman’s board, that he had approved the grant.
“The grant Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded to support our nonprofit agency that assists abuse victims in Cullman County is needed and appreciated,” said Jacobs. “The grants will help Victim Services of Cullman continue offering a crisis hotline, emergency shelter, counseling and other services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the county.”
In addition to grant funds, Victim Services depends on individual, private donations to ensure a full range of services remains available.
“Cullman is an exceptional community but like all others were have a real need for programs that assist victims of domestic violence and their families. Without the generosity of the governor and ADECA, it would be impossible to maintain our domestic violence shelter and the Crisis Line that are manned 24 hours a day every day of the year,” Jacobs said. “This grant is a 20/80 match. In order to receive the 80 promised by ADECA, VSOC has to have the 20 percent match. This is facilitated by contributions from the city and county governments and Cullman United Way and the very generous members of our supportive community.”
Victim Services 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 centers and is used to provide shelter for victims and to conduct educational and prevention programs.
“Harbor Haus is a 26-bed domestic violence shelter that is available to Cullman citizens that are experiencing violence in their homes,” explained Jacobs. “It is the belief of the board of directors and staff of Victim Services of Cullman that every citizen deserves to live free from dysfunction and violence. The mission of VSOC is to break the cycle of family violence/sexual assault, preventing future acts of abuse through education, outreach and empowering the survivors through support and advocacy. This grant allows VSOC to work toward accomplishing this mission. If anyone would like to contribute in any way, please call 256-775-2600. Volunteers are welcome and cherished members of our organization.”
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation development.