COLUMBIA, SC – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announces that the SC Public Safety Coordinating Council, in response to recommendations made by the Governor’s Domestic Violence Task Force and to the needs of crime victims in the state, has authorized a significant expenditure of FFY 2015 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) federal funding to increase the number of victim advocates statewide.
VOCA federal funds are administered by the Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs of the SC Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) and are used to fund a variety of victims’ services projects statewide. In 2015, federal allocations of VOCA funding substantially increased over previous years, from roughly $745 million nationally to almost $2.3 billion.
South Carolina’s share of this funding for 2015 amounted to approximately $29 million. The availability of these funds allowed SCDPS to recommend to the SC Public Safety Coordinating Council the funding of an additional 86.5 victim advocate positions statewide (38 in private, non-profit agencies; 22.5 in law enforcement agencies; and 26 in solicitors’ offices) to serve victims of crime.
These new victim advocates will greatly enhance the State’s ability to respond appropriately to domestic violence victims statewide, as well as victims of other types of abuse crimes.
“This influx of funding creates a great opportunity in our state to benefit crime victims and to respond quickly to address service gaps identified by the Governor’s Domestic Violence Task Force,” said Sheriff Al Cannon who serves as the Chair of the SC Public Safety Coordinating Council. “These new victim advocate positions will prove to be a strong support mechanism for all of the other victims’ services projects and efforts currently funded by VOCA dollars in South Carolina.”