Chatham County DA’s office gives $2 million to victim service agencies

Crime & Safety

CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WSAV) – The people that work daily to protect victims of crime have received some help from the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Meg Heap was flanked by Directors and Board Chairpersons from the Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center, Safe Shelter, Rape Crisis Center, and the Chatham County family Justice Center as she handed each agency checks for $500,000.

“Coronavirus has put a damper on most agencies holding their annual fundraisers,” said Heap. “My hope is that this money will allow the folks that work with some of our most vulnerable victims to continue that work uninterrupted.”

The $2 million settlement used for the donations came from a statewide illegal gambling case that started in Macon. Money from these types of settlements is limited by law with direct victim services being one of the allowable expenses.

All of the agencies who received this money say it came just at the right time, for their cause, and the people they serve.

“We handle cases you would think during the Pandemic you would think you wouldn’t have to see,” explained Rosemary Robinson, executive director of the Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center. “But we still see the child molestation, we still see the sexual assault fo children, we still see the physical abuse of children. This money really will take care of those kids.”

“We were going to go into 2021 $300,000 in debt because we couldn’t have our gala and other fundraising activities were canceled,” said Cheryl Branch, Executive Director of Safe Shelter. “Donations from the public were down. So this is like Christmas to me and I couldn’t be happier.”

Heap says this is the largest settlement she has ever seen go through the DA’s office.

“I felt it was important that the money go where it could have the largest impact,” she said.

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