MONTGOMERY, Ala (EETV) — Gov. Kay Ivey awarded $3.8 million to ensure abuse victims throughout the state have access to professional assistance and care as they escape situations involving domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse.

Ivey awarded the grants to 49 nonprofit and government agencies which offer a variety of assistance at no cost to victims and family members. The assistance includes emergency shelter, counseling, support groups, advocates to help victims navigate the criminal justice system and other services. Some of the funding supports law enforcement programs that specialize in investigating and prosecuting abuse crimes.

“Access to professional, caring and timely assistance is paramount to abuse victims as they take the first steps toward recovery,” Ivey said. “I commend the staff and volunteers of these organizations who work diligently to help victims and their families recover and seek justice, and I am pleased to assist their efforts with these grants.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some of the domestic violence shelter agencies receive additional funding through the state’s Domestic Violence Trust Fund. The fund, created through the state marriage license fee, is distributed quarterly by ADECA to the agencies and is used to provide shelter for victims and to conduct educational and prevention programs.

“As we mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, I stand with Gov. Ivey and her commitment to helping victims of abuse and to helping these organizations utilize the resources available to them,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “It is unfortunate these services are needed, but the professional assistance gives victims and their families hope for a better future.”