Domestic violence resources can help in a crisis

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- After domestic violence claimed the lives of two people in Huntsville this week, WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to help victims find help, even when they feel  hopeless.

The big message from case managers in Huntsville: domestic violence victims "can put this behind them and move forward and live a happy, safe life. It just takes time." Tanya Reagan, a supervisory case manager at HOPE Place, wants all victims to know that. HOPE Place is a shelter that's part of Crisis Services of North Alabama.

She says help can come from a variety of places. One way is to call CSNA at 256-716-1000.

"Please call. Please let someone know what's happening to you so you can get help. A phone call is just that. It's a phone call. But it's a first step."

She says CSNA can provide counseling, court advocacy, shelter, and other support for families and those suffering from domestic violence and sexual assault. And they do their work confidentially.

"What [you] tell us helps us help [you] figure out exactly how dangerous [your] situation may be and how we can help make a plan to escape and stay safe," she said.

The Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program is also a resource for those who are concerned about funding legal help. It can be a big financial burden, but if you qualify they can help for free.

"We can handle uncontested divorces, we have handled some protection from abuse cases," said Nicole Schroer, Executive Director of the program.

She says some people also seek help from the court through a protection order, which she says essentially restrains a party from contacting another for a temporary period of time.

"Sometimes that time period allows somebody to then seek the other legal assistance that they need. If they're in a domestic violence type situation and they're seeking a divorce, for instance," said Schroer.

If protection orders are violated, police may be able to intervene where they couldn't before. And there are penalties for repeated offenses that include jail time. But it's important to note that protection orders can still be violated.

Huntsville Police have also compiled a list of resources for victims. More can be found here.

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