Funding hopes to make residents aware of domestic violence

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2005

STATE – According to information provided by the Alabama criminal justice website, there have been six rapes, 89 reported cases of aggravated domestic assault and 366 reported cases of simple domestic assault in Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry and Sumter counties in 2004.

Carol Gundlach, director at the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, believes there are 30,000 women in the entire state who have been domestically assaulted.

“Those numbers are just the cases which have been reported,” she said. “That’s probably only about ten percent.”

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Thus, Governor Riley has announced a grant in the amount of $150,000 to be awarded to the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence to continue helping local law enforcement agencies, health care providers and other groups to provide better services to victims.

“We provide training on responding to domestic violence calls and responding to protection order violations,” Gundlach said. “”We also have 35-40 active community task forces across the state.”

These community task forces are usually county-based groups who strive to promote domestic violence awareness in their areas.

“They have workshops, prayer breakfasts, and they are even beginning to do a community audit so they can see how well their systems react to domestic violence,” she said. “They do as much as they can dream up.”

According to Gundlach, the Jefferson task force has even been door to door to promote domestic violence awareness.

This continued grant was made available to the Montgomery-based organization by funds from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the grant.

It will be used to provide training to local hospital officials, police forces and even cosmetology students.

“We feel as though they should know how to handle domestic violence situations in case they get a customer who is faced with them,” Gundlach said. “We want to teach them how to handle it if they see it going on.”

Gundlach said when training the officers, the plan does cover procedure but it is “a lot more intensive” than the training of students and hospital staff.

“We show them how to instigate a domestic violence crime scene and inform them of issues about officer safety.”

The Coalition has been in operation since the mid-80s, but didn’t set up in an actual office until 1990.

It is supported by government, state and federal funds along with community support and receives much aid from ADECA.

“We have gotten grants in the past from ADECA,” Gundlach said. “It’s just wonderful. They are very supportive of us and our member shelters.”