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Gov. Riley awards #036;25,000 grant

Thanks to a $25,000 grant awarded by Gov. Bob Riley, victims of domestic violence will have an easier time separating themselves from their aggressor.

The funds, which were awarded to Legal Services of Alabama, Inc. in Montgomery, will be used to assist low-income victims in Bullock, Butler, Crenshaw, Lowndes, Macon and Pike counties attain independence from their abusers. Legal advice and representation on matters such as personal safety, housing and governmental benefits will be offered to the victims.

"The Sheriff's Office is behind any effort to help benefit the victims of domestic violence," Crenshaw County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jimmy Lecroy, who is also a member of the newly-formed Crenshaw County Domestic Task Force, said. "Regardless of what area it's in we're for it 100 percent."

Gov. Riley believes the funds are warranted due to the increase in domestic violence cases statewide.

"This free and timely legal assistance to victims offers hope for a better life free from abuse," he said. "I am pleased to provide funds to support this program."

According to a release from the Office of the Governor, Legal Services has been representing victims of domestic violence in the Montgomery area since 1981. During the organization's 2003 fiscal year, the staff provided representation to 338 victims. To be eligible for services, a client's household income cannot exceed 125 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $12,490 for a family of two, $18,850 for a family of four and $25,210 for a family of six as reported by the Federal Register in February of 2004.

Crenshaw County Domestic Violence Task Force Chairperson Ann Tate is delighted to hear of Riley's contribution to such a worthy cause.

"I'm very pleased to hear about this grant," Tate said. "Legal Services of Alabama provides an invaluable service to domestic violence victims who can not afford attorney's fees."

Riley awarded the grant from funds made available to the state through a program of the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, according to the Office of the Governor. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs has been designated to administer the grant.

Legal Services of Alabama will supply matching funds of at least $6,250 to supplement the grant.