CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) —The National Office of Victims of Crime is giving $3.6 million to a partnership of many agencies in the Lowcountry to help recover from the tragedy at Mother Emanuel. This grant will be used for mostly law enforcement services and mental health.
Dr. Alyssa Rheingold for the MUSC National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center says, “Now we will have resources to provide much more intensive care and to provide more outreach that we weren’t able to do before.”
About $85,000 will help provide additional training for law enforcement responding to a homicide scene.
Charleston Police Department Chief Greg Mullen says, “While the investigation was ongoing, there was also a parallel component where we were dealing with the victims, and their families, and the congregation to start helping them to not feel that fear, or at least lessen that fear.”
They will also provide security for the victims’ families at the trial.
Emanuel AME Church’s Pastor, Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark says mental health treatment is an ongoing cost.
She says, “The grieving process, it doesn’t have a steady direction. Sometimes you digress, sometimes you speed forward, so this grant is going to help us to chart a course of healing and wholeness.”
The grant will provide that help for the survivors, the victims’ families, first responders who were at the crime scene, and the entire congregation of Mother Emanuel.
Rev. Dr. Clark says, “The congregation is a survivor as well because we are still worshipping in the same space where everything happened.”
Dr. Rheingold says, “Through this grant we will really be able to offer care to anyone who has been personally impacted.”
She says it’s a long journey dealing with this type of loss.
Dr. Rheingold says, “There isn’t sort of a set time frame that you would expect to see someone kind of progress, but for folks lost by homicide it’s much more intense and much more ongoing.”
The grant will be available for three years and the funds will be retroactive to the date of the shooting, and can be used for mental health and security costs that have come up since then.