For the first time in years, a second group has requested a share of the anti-domestic violence funds collected by Callaway County's courts.
County commissioners met Wednesday to allocate the funding, which is comprised of court fees collected through the county court system.
"Statutorily, that money can be requested by volunteer groups to provide services for victims," Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann explained.
Historically, the Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence in Callaway County has been the only group to request those funds from the county.
"We just gave them whatever we'd collected," Jungermann said.
This year, the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service in Cole County requested a portion of the funding. While digging into the statutes regarding these funds, Jungermann was surprised to learn the county used to have a board dedicated to dividing these funds.
"In the '80s, there was a board that reviewed the requests and decided who got what," he said. "The board was dissolved over the years because it wasn't needed."
The commission plans to revive the five-person board, as this situation is likely to recur in coming years. For this year, representatives for RACS and CARDV met with Prosecuting Attorney Chris Wilson and came to an agreement on what percentage will go to each group. CARDV Executive Director Tyler Rieke said she felt the process was handled "compassionately and fairly."
CARDV will receive 90 percent of the funds, or $9,170.68. RACS, which only serves a small handful of Callaway County residents, will get the remaining $1,018.97.
"At this time, court fees are our only regular source of discretionary funding," Rieke said. "Court fee funds are the foundation on which all our other funding is built."
She explained most of CARDV's funding comes from federal, state and local grants. Grants are time-consuming, and thus expensive, to write, but the money from the grants can't go toward grant-writing. That's what the court fee money helps cover.
"Court fees are a great example of putting local funds to work," she said. "Fees paid by Callaway residents are used to bring in more dollars from state and federal sources, all to support Callaway survivors of domestic and sexual violence."
Rieke added CARDV does not currently apply for or receive court fees from other counties, as the agency's focus is on Callaway County residents.
RACS serves nine counties with a shelter, court advocacy, a 24-hour hotline, counseling and other services. The hotline can be reached at 1-800-303-0013. Visit RACS at racsjc.org.
CARDV was established in 1994 to assist victims and survivors of domestic and sexual assault in Callaway County. CARDV operates a 24-hour help line at 573-642-4422 or 866-642-4422. Services offered include counseling, emergency room and court advocacy, crisis intervention, emergency temporary shelter and more. For other information, contact the office at 573-642-1418 or visit callawaycardv.org.
Correction: The headline on an earlier version of this story incorrectly misidentified the county. Identification within the article was correct and the headline has since been corrected.