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Grants for centers serving county

Gov. Bob Riley has awarded grants totaling $875,046 to support programs that aid victims of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault in central Alabama.

The grants, including three economic stimulus grants, will support four organizations that help victims in seven counties.

“These programs provide free services that are an important part of the recovery process for victims,” Riley said. “Many of these organizations depend heavily upon individual contributions, so I urge area residents to be generous in their support.”

The organizations receiving grants are:

n Family Sunshine Center–Three grants totaling $688,600, including $40,000 from economic stimulus funds, for safe shelter and other services to domestic violence victims in Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Elmore, Lowndes and Montgomery counties. The center offers counseling, support groups and on-site medical services for victims staying at the shelter.

The economic stimulus funds will help the organization maintain staffing levels needed to continue the current level of assistance to victims.

n Lighthouse Counseling Center–$40,000 economic stimulus grant to help maintain assistance to sexual assault victims in Autauga, Butler, Crenshaw, Elmore, Lowndes and Montgomery counties.

The center’s specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners perform exams of victims to collect crime evidence.

The exams are conducted in a private facility to spare victims the stress of visiting a hospital emergency room where privacy is limited and wait times are often lengthy.