SUBMITTED — Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded grants totaling $199,192 to support programs that assist domestic violence victims and prosecute offenders in eight south Alabama counties.

“Domestic violence victims and their families deserve professional support to assist them in overcoming the trauma, as well as advocates to help them pursue justice in the legal system,” Ivey said. “I commend the work of these organizations for helping those who need it most and for prosecuting those responsible for abuse.”

Penelope House in Mobile is using a $44,864 grant to continue providing community outreach and awareness presentations in Mobile, Washington, Choctaw and Clarke counties. These presentations will increase the communities’ knowledge about domestic violence and ensure that agencies and their staffs in the area are aware of how and where to refer victims for services. Prevention education will also be provided to pre-kindergarten-12th grades to help children understand the damaging effects of abuse and violence.

The Mobile County Commission is using a $54,865 grant to support a collaboration between the District Attorney’s Office and Penelope House to provide training for law enforcement and prosecutors in using a database to track municipal court domestic violence cases in the county. This program will enable them to know when cases should be pursued more aggressively and when to seek tougher sentences for offenders.

With a $38,765 grant, the Baldwin Family Violence Shelter will continue providing shelter to domestic violence victims and their children in Baldwin, Escambia, Monroe and Conecuh counties. The shelter also provides a 24-crisis line, advocacy service and other services to victims.

The Escambia County Commission is using a $60,698 grant to continue the efforts of the Domestic Violence Unit, a joint venture of the county Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office. The unit works closely with law enforcement agencies, health care providers and victim service organizations in the county to help increase public awareness of victim’s rights, prosecute domestic violence cases and reduce violent crime against women in Escambia County.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Gov. Ivey and I support the efforts of these local organizations to help those victimized by such awful crimes,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “The partnerships between ADECA and these organizations are key to ensuring those who have suffered from abuse have access to the support services they need to begin the recovery process.”

ADECA manages a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, infrastructure upgrades, recreation, energy conservation, water resource management, job training and career development.