Alabama First Lady proposes new domestic violence legislation

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)- First lady Dianne Bentley announced her legislative agenda last week, aiming to strengthen domestic violence victim services in Alabama.

"We're very underfunded for the United States, we're one of the least funded states for domestic violence shelters in the nation." Says Dianne Bentley.

The First Lady's domestic violence prevention legislation has multiple objectives. "The first part is a one time 5 million dollar bill to divide into two parts. The first 3 million will be used as capital improvement for our shelters, and the second 2 million will be used to establish perpetual funding for our shelters." Adds Bentley.

The legislation has been sponsored by Senator Clay Scofield, who acknowledges the prevalence of domestic violence in Alabama. "I have had a lot of victims contact me, I heard a lot of victims stories, I saw some of our shelters and the needs that they had and whether it be capital-wise, or funding for better services for our victims. And I really thought it was something that needed some attention paid to it." Says Scofield.

The legislation creates a structure of accountability and standards in service for the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "They will be at the forefront now of advocacy and making the public aware, making victims aware of what resources are out there, and that there's help, and that there's hope." Adds Scofield.

Domestic violence is an issue that touches many lives, and this proposed legislation aims to help reduce that number. "Domestic violence is very prevalent. More than likely all of us know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, we just don't know it." Says Scofield.