Montgomery leaders spread awareness about domestic violence

Published: Oct. 11, 2016 at 11:23 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2016 at 12:46 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Domestic violence is a serious, even potentially deadly, crime that happens every day across the world.

With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, community leaders are hoping the public can recognize the signs of a problem that are too often dismissed as a personal matter.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a woman is fatally shot by her husband, ex-husband or boyfriend every 14 hours.

"We're trying to get the word out so that they have a place to call, a place to go so that they can get their loved one, their friends, their neighbors help," said Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey. "Domestic violence has been a plague on society since the dawn of man and we need to be able to help these victims and give them a place to go."

One of those places they can go is the One Place Family Justice Center. They say they provide more than just education, they also provide empowerment.

"Most victims have had all the control taken out of their lives. And at the family justice center, we educated them on what's available to them even if they decide not to do anything," said Executive Director Nathan Cook. "But we can guarantee you when you leave, you're empowered with the information to make good choices about what you want to do to keep yourself safe."

It's not just about keeping yourself safe but also keeping your friends and loved ones safe. According to the  Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, there were more than 35,000 domestic violence assaults across Alabama in 2013.

Bailey says domestic violence is one crime that doesn't discriminate.

"I've seen extremely rich, wealthy women who have been victims of domestic violence. I've seen poor victims of domestic violence. Black and white, we've seen Asian, we've seen all different backgrounds," Bailey said.

That's why it's important to recognize the signs to help a victim of domestic violence.

"Whether it be unexplained injuries that the person might have, even injuries that they try to explain that don't make sense," Bailey said. "Often we ignore cries for help because we just don't see what they're talking about."

It could make the difference between life and death.

"You may be saving someone's life," Cook said. "Sometimes you have to intervene, even when you're not asked to. And it may just be calling our number, asking for information or just stopping by."

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