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MONTGOMERY — Grants totaling $208,282 will help ensure victims of sexual assault and domestic violence have access to professional assistance through a network of local agencies.

The Alabama Coalition Against Rape received a $102,670 grant while the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence was the recipient of a $105,612 grant. Both grants were made available through the U.S. Department of Justice.

The money will be used to train the staffs of local law enforcement agencies, health care organizations, courts and domestic violence shelters to recognize the signs of abuse and respond more effectively to domestic and dating violence as well as stalking, according to a news release from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

Services offered by the organizations include advocates who accompany victims to hospitals and legal proceedings, counseling, and 24-hour crisis lines.

Both organizations also conduct training programs to help investigators and health care professionals understand and meet the special needs of elderly and disabled victims.

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