Harriet’s House closes doors

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, December 2, 2014

West Alabama’s domestic violence shelter Harriet’s House closed its doors Friday, Nov. 21.

Harriet’s House served victims of domestic abuse in Marengo, Greene, Choctaw, Clarke and Sumter counties. The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence is encouraging all local victims residing in these counties to call ACADV’s toll-free statewide hotline number at 1-800-650-6522. The hotline will allow callers to access emergency shelter and support services any time.

Harriet’s House director Susanna Naisbett was sad to have to close the shelter.

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“Sadly, we were forced to close the doors of Harriet’s House on Nov. 21 due to lack of adequate funding,” she said. “We’ve sustained deep cuts in funding since around 2004, and that coupled with the downturn of the economy and an 85 percent drop in financial contributions made it impossible for us to continue operation.”

The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence will continue to serve all domestic violence victims and their children in this five-county region through their member programs and nearby shelters. Penelope House in Mobile has assumed service provision in Choctaw and Clarke counties. Sabra Sanctuary in Selma will serve as the domestic violence program providing services to Greene, Sumter and Marengo counties. By calling the statewide hotline number, victims will be connected to the local domestic violence shelter serving their community.

“Thanks to the leadership and commitment from Penelope House and Sabra Sanctuary, domestic violence survivors and their children will receive uninterrupted services,” said Tiffany Carr, interim executive director of ACADV.

ACADV provides support to its member domestic violence programs as the leading statewide resource for domestic violence survivors and their children. Through training, technical assistance, educational outreach and public policy advocacy, the ACADV and its domestic violence shelters provide a life-changing escape for survivors and their children that flee violent homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“The holiday season is a time of celebration with family, but far too often, our domestic violence shelters are full beyond capacity with women, children and men who fled for safety and were unable to spend the holidays in a peaceful home,” Carr said. “Our shelters are the lifeline for domestic violence survivors and their children. The demand for services has never been greater and the resources have never been less. Please consider supporting your local domestic violence shelter as they provide safety and security to our most vulnerable population.”

Across Alabama, more than 20,000 incidents of domestic violence were reported in 2013, and nationwide one in three women are victims of domestic violence. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please encourage them to call the 24-hour statewide Alabama Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-650-6522.