File Photo – Lake County Courthouse | Photo: Lake County Government

The 19th Judicial Circuit Court has awarded $100,000 in grants to two organizations that provide legal services and support for sexual assault victims.

The 19th Judicial Circuit’s Crime Victims’ Services Fund Committee, created in August 2021, provides grants annually to non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) status, local government agencies and agencies providing services to the court.

The committee is comprised of judges, probation employees and court staff.

In 2010, the court began collecting $2 monthly from offenders’ probation fees for the fund.

Funds can be used to create new programs or enhance an agency’s current programs.

The maximum annual individual grant amount is $50,000, and the number of grants and amounts awarded is subject to available funding.

Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center, or the ZCenter, and Prairie State Legal Services (PSLS) were both awarded $50,000.

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The Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center, located in Gurnee and Skokie, is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides sexual assault survivors and their families with direct medical and legal advocacy services.

Counselors and staff at the ZCenter also work to alleviate the trauma of survivors.

Prairie State Legal Services, with an office in Waukegan, is also a 501(c)(3) organization that provides legal advice and representation, advocacy, education and outreach “to ensure equal access to justice and fair treatment under the law.”

“PSLS envisions a community where all low-income, elderly and vulnerable people have ready access to legal services to meet their basic needs and where everyone knows, understands and can exercise their rights and be treated fairly in their pursuit of justice,” according to their website.

“I am honored to share that Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center and Prairie State Legal Services were each awarded funding for their proposals to provide services to crime victims and their families in Lake County,” Lake County Chief Judge Daniel Shanes said.

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“In 2023, the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit awarded $100,000 to these organizations. Additional monies are available to continue to assist agencies to sustain their existing programs or implement new services,” Shanes added.

Applications to receive funding are available on the court’s website.

Completed applications are due no later than April 1. Grants will be awarded by May 1.