HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Domestic Violence Awareness Month is recognized each year in October. However, prosecutors agree that it’s a topic that should be discussed year-round.
That’s because according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in four women and one in seven men will experience severe domestic violence in their lifetime.
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Prim Escalona, tells News 19 that her office is working on ‘Operation Safe Families’ to help combat the issue.
Operation Safe Families is a newer initiative that focuses on improving resources, putting in place training measures, and prosecuting domestic violence abusers.
Escalona tells News 19 one of the areas they are working on is improving “wrap-around services”. Those are the resources that are offered to victims of abuse.
“Sometimes it’s that the victims had to leave so suddenly that they don’t even have the diapers or the car seat that they need for their children and so there are agencies that come alongside and do those wrap-around services,” Escalona said. “We want to make sure that law enforcement knows about that and knows who to link those victims up with.”
Escalona said if you are in, or know someone in domestic violence situation, to reach out for help.
“Anytime we are in the midst of trauma it is very difficult to see beyond it, but there are community agencies throughout our district that will come alongside victims of domestic violence and help them with those resources,” she said. “So often when you are a victim of domestic violence, they don’t even know what’s available to them.”
“So, I would say, the best thing they can do is just to ask one person for help” she added.
Another focus of the Northern District of Alabama is to get firearms out of the hands of abusers.
“We know in a domestic violence situation, if a gun is involved, there is a 500 times chance that the encounter ends in homicide,” Escalona said.
Federal firearm laws prohibit gun possession for domestic abusers, and Escalona said her office uses those in prosecuting cases.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their website.
In the Shoals, One Place of the Shoals is a great resource for victims of domestic violence.