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Sheriff gives $100,000 check to SCVAN

Posted: March 16, 2017 6:25 p.m.
Updated: March 17, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Provided by the KCSO/

S.C. Victims Assistance Network (SCVAN) Executive Director Laura Hudson accepts a $100,000 check from Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews on Tuesday. The money, which represents a portion of surplus Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office victims assistance funds, will be used to assist the SCVAN -- a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization -- help victims of crime across the state.

Every year, every county in South Carolina collects money from fines and assessments following court proceedings. A percentage of those funds are mandated by state law to be turned over to the state. In turn, South Carolina distributes a portion of that money back to the counties, including to sheriffs to be used to assist the many victims of crime.

Not only are there strict guidelines to how that money can be used, but must return any money from that fund back to the state at the end of the year. The only exception is to distribute them on to approved victims assistance programs.

On Tuesday, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews decided that, instead of turning $100,000 back to the state of South Carolina, he would pass it on to the S.C. Victims Assistance Network (SCVAN). Tuesday, Matthews presented a check in that amount to SCVAN Executive Director Laura Hudson.

“Most people have no idea of the need for victims’ assistance programs unless they become a victim of crime,” Matthews said in a press release. “The judicial system can be overwhelming and some people, especially women and children, often have no place to go after becoming the victims of domestic violence. People don’t appreciate this until it happens to them.”

Sheriffs are allowed by law to hire victim’s advocates and to distribute some of those funds to different programs that help crime victims, many of whom are in dire straits. The criteria that the state has put into place are extremely strict and it is not uncommon for surpluses to be returned to the state government. Matthews said the funds are not generated by tax revenue nor do they come from a sheriff’s operating budget.

Last year, Matthews attended a SCVAN fund raiser and learned of its need for additional funding. SCVAN provides numerous emergency services for those who have been victimized by domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes. Many of those victims find themselves with no safe place to go or to even negotiate through the criminal justice system. The SCVAN provides a variety of services to include legal assistance for crime victims and relies on donations and grants to pay for their operations. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

After learning about the SCVAN’s needs, he checked to see if it was legal to give it $100,000 of the excess funding the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) had on hand. The S.C. State Office of Victims Assistance determined it was legal to do so, and Matthews directed that $100,000 of the KCSO victims assistance surplus be distributed to SCVAN.


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