Local domestic violence shelter weathers budget cuts - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Local domestic violence shelter weathers budget cuts

By Cody Holyoke - bio | email

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- Hundreds of reports line the walls of the Montgomery Police Department's Domestic Violence bureau.

Those are just a fraction of the domestic violence cases in Montgomery.  This year.

"Domestic violence has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and law enforcement jumps in somewhere along the line," explained Lieutenant Steve Searcy.

In 2007, 9,307 people called 911 to report a domestic violence crime.  This year, 4,000 calls between January and June.

That's 22 calls a day.

"It's a cycle that will continue until someone intervenes," Searcy said.

Montgomery's Family Sunshine Center deals mostly with the victims of those cases.

For the past 20 years, however, they've been helping offenders change their ways.

"It's a series of 18 classes on different aspects, ranging from what violence is and how to identify anger to the effects of the domestic violence on children," said Karen Sellers, executive director.

Now, that program, dubbed E.V.E.N.--or End Violence Effectively Now, won't be offered because their budget is down $190,000 this year.

The main reason?  The soft economy hurts people's ability to give.

"They don't have the discretionary income to make donations to their favorite charity," Sellers said.

With E.V.E.N. on its way out, authorities say they'll have their hands full.

"Now, we've just taken a valuable piece of that component out, and that's really sad," Searcy explained.

It's a thought that tears at the people that help victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

"I know personally of lives and families that have been kept together because of it, and it's just like losing one of your children," Sellers said.

NOTE: THE FAMILY SUNSHINE CENTER WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE COUNTLESS SERVICES TO VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE.  "EVEN" IS THE ONLY PROGRAM AFFECTED BY THE CUTS.

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