MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and local advocacy groups are coming together to raise awareness.
The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV) hosted a balloon release at Oak Park in Montgomery on behalf of victims of domestic violence and those who have lost their lives.
“We want everybody to know that we no longer want them to be bystanders,” said Jawandalyn Brooks, executive director of Alabama Coalition of Domestic Violence. “We want everyone to join in, raise awareness about domestic violence, educate themselves on domestic violence, and join us as we try to end domestic violence.”
The Alabama attorney general’s office, Montgomery Police Department, as well as the U.S. and Montgomery County district attorney’s office were in attendance.
Organizers said there has been an increase in victims needing help during the pandemic.
“The reality is that COVID has brought awareness to us,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. “This problem is even worse right now because many of our victims have had no other place to be able to go. As we come out of this pandemic, let us also recognize that there is much work to be done.”
Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley spoke about adding more domestic violence officers and investigators to the department to help victims and their families.
“I think it makes a difference,” Finley said. “I think it helps us when we have relentless follow-up to the victims and the to victims families that really need that assistance and compassion to show that we care.”
To date, ACADV has provided over 74,000 beds to victims and their families who have escaped abusive homes.
If you are in need of assistance or if you know of someone who might need help, Alabama has a 24-hour statewide domestic violence hotline. Call 1-800-650-6522.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE.
For a map of domestic violence shelters in Alabama, click here.