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Grant to help provide services to rape victims in five counties

A nonprofit group that assists rape victims in south central and southwest Alabama has been awarded a $250,555 grant.

The Lighthouse Counseling Center in Montgomery will use funds to assist victims in Butler, Crenshaw, Dallas, Perry and Wilcox counties through its Standing Together Against Rape program.

With the grant, the center will begin offering two mobile Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner units to travel to victims in rural areas of the counties and provide crisis counseling and forensic exams.

“Access to compassionate and professional care should be available to all victims of sexual assault,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “I commend the staff and volunteers of Lighthouse for all they do to help those in need.”

The program uses volunteer registered nurses who are specially trained to care for victims and collect evidence. The volunteers conduct the exams privately to spare victims the stress of visiting a hospital emergency room where privacy may be limited and wait times can be lengthy.

Local matching funds of $62,638 will supplement the grant. In addition to grant funds, the organization relies on individual donations to ensure a full range of services is available to victims.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice. ADECA manages a wide array of programs that support law enforcement and traffic safety, energy conservation, water resource management, economic development and recreation.