OVC Grant to Assist Mother Emanuel AME Church

June 9, 2016

CHARLESTON, SC – The National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Berkeley County Mental Health Center, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Charleston Police Department, the Charleston Dorchester County Mental Health Center, the Charleston Coroner’s Office, the Charleston County Clerk of Courts, and the Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office have been granted approximately $3.6 million from the National Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) for past, current, and future efforts to assist and partner with the Mother Emanuel AME Church.

“We commend the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at MUSC and our federal, state, and local partners for their extraordinary efforts to identify a long term solution for the victims’ families, survivors, and Mother Emanuel AME Church family impacted by the Emanuel 9 shooting,” said Reverend Betty Deas Clark. “Additionally, we thank the Department of Justice for making these funds available for this critical work."

Mother Emanuel AME Church and the entire congregation are considered a named victim for purposes of this funding, a somewhat novel set of circumstances. “The crime occurred in the context of a long history of racially motivated attacks directed at African-American churches, thereby magnifying its impact on the congregation,” said Dean G. Kilpatrick, Ph.D., co-director of the OVC service grant, NCVC director and distinguished university professor of Clinical Psychology. “These remarkable families, surviving witnesses, and church members, as well as first responders and Charleston itself, have received widespread recognition for their grace and resilience. Although admirable, it does not negate the fact that many individuals will need help, information, and assistance for an extended period of time. All of these people need to receive assistance, and we are overjoyed at the immense level of teamwork across all of the partner agencies taking place to secure this assistance.”

NCVC at MUSC was approached by several agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the South Carolina District, to serve as the lead agency for the OVC service grant application. NCVC will be accountable for the distribution of funds to partner organizations for needed services, coordination of services, and reimbursement to agencies for services already rendered in the aftermath of the tragedy. NCVC has conducted extensive discussions with Rev. Clark and additional church leadership to assess their needs and the types of services that would be most relevant and useful. An overview of the services that will be funded in whole or part by OVC service grant are:

  • Limited victim-related law enforcement services (e.g. death notifications, security and victim escort at memorial services and funerals, crime scene cleanup, victim protection during court proceedings)
  • Victim-witness notification and support services (e.g. notification of hearings and proceedings; accompaniment of victims at these hearings and proceedings; assistance with travel arrangements to attend hearings and proceedings; facilitating consultation with prosecutors)
  • Services addressing crime-related mental health needs of direct and indirect victims (e.g. evidence-based individual mental health counseling; support group counseling; intensive case management and victim navigation; resiliency building community memorials and events, and self-help psychoeducational materials that are designed to provide brief information about common crime-related mental health problems, self-screening for those problems, and evidence-based self-help suggestions about how to address problems constructively; the self-help psychoeducational materials will be developed in a paper and pencil as well as an online web application version); 
  • Resiliency center services designed to meet the crime-related needs of the congregation;
  • Direct victim assistance services provided by the Charleston County Coroner’s Office;
  • Services designed to assist victims in preparing for and attending trial proceedings

About Mother Emanuel AME Church

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is the oldest AME church in the south. It is referred to as "Mother Emanuel,” and has one of the largest and oldest black congregations south of Baltimore, Maryland. The current pastor of "Mother Emanuel" is The Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark. In 1787, Richard Allen and others of African descent withdrew from St. George's Methodist Church in Philadelphia because of unkind treatment and restrictions placed upon the worshipers of African descent. After Allen left St. George's Methodist Church, he and his followers purchased a blacksmith shop for thirty-five dollars. From the blacksmith shop they worshipped and helped the sick and the poor. The blacksmith shop was converted into a church. They called the new church Bethel. In 1816 Allen called together sixteen representatives from Bethel African Church in Philadelphia and African churches in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey to meet in Philadelphia, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. Richard Allen was the first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

About MUSC / The National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center

Contact: Heather Woolwine

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 13,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.2 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated center) Level I Trauma Center, and Naitonal Crime Victims Research, and Treatment Center. For more information on academic programs or clinical services, visit The Medical University of South Carolina. For more information about NCVC, visit NCVC.

About Charleston County Government (Coroner’s office, Sheriff’s Office, Clerk of Courts)

Contact: Shawn Smetana

We will promote and protect the quality of life in Charleston County by delivering services of value to the community.

About the City of Charleston Police Department

Contact: Charles Francis

The police department currently employs 458 sworn police officers, 117 civilians, and several reserve police officers. Providing a high level of public service is the police department's mission. The department, headed by Chief Gregory Mullen, has many resources and specialized personnel at its disposal. The Charleston Police Department was the first municipal law enforcement agency in the State of South Carolina to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Charleston Police Department would like to invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for important information about the department and activities within the City. We also have a new mobile app for your convenience. You may visit either the Google Play Store or Apple iTunes to download the app. 

About Berkeley County Mental Health Center

The Berkeley County Mental Health Center is centrally located in Moncks Corner, with more than 50 staff members including psychiatrists, nurses, counselors, and others who provide direct clinical services, as well as administrative staff who support the clinical mission. With a mission of supporting the recovery of citizens with mental illness, the outpatient center is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF ensures accredited organizations meet the highest possible standards for quality of services.

About Charleston Dorchester County Mental Health Center

With two clinics and more than 200 staff, the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center (CDMHC) is one of the most innovative, diverse, and skilled treatment centers in the state of South Carolina. The CDMHC, established in 1947, is one of 17 Centers operated by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. CDMHC is a Health care organization committed to providing mental health services to the residents of Charleston and Dorchester Counties. Both clinics (Dorchester and Charleston) are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

About the Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office

Scarlett A. Wilson is a native of Hemingway, South Carolina. She graduated from Clemson University in 1989 and from the University of South Carolina School Of Law in 1992. After a year clerking for the Honorable Don S. Rushing, Scarlett spent eighteen months working as a Fifth Circuit Assistant Solicitor. In 1995, Scarlett joined the United States Attorney's Office and its Violent Crimes Task Force. She was a joint winner of the 1997 Department of Justice Director's Award for Superior Performance by an Assistant United States Attorney. Scarlett prosecuted various types of federal cases including those involving drugs, murder, murder-for-hire, and armed robbery.