Lauderdale D.A. Forms “One Place of the Shoals” To Help Victims

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s an initiative that formed after a ranking placed Lauderdale County at the top of a very disturbing list in the state.

“In 2009 we had a bad year here in Lauderdale County,” explained District Attorney Chris Connolly. “We actually led the state of Alabama in homicides with a domestic violence element to them.”

From that ranking, Connolly and his office formed a domestic violence unit comprised of officers with the district attorney’s office, Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department and Florence Police.

Three years later, Connolly and his staff wanted to continue their success in battling domestic violence so they formed One Place of the Shoals, Inc.

It’s a private corporation made up of numerous state agencies and law enforcement officers who can help domestic violence victims in one location.

“If we can reach out to victims and provide the services to them in an efficient manner, they are going to get the services,” said Connolly. “The more roadblocks there are for them to get the services, the fewer services they are going to get.”

As the system is set up now, Connolly said victims have to visit numerous departments inside the Lauderdale County Courthouse to get the help they need.

With One Place, however, victims can go to one location and be walked through the process of getting to a safe place, away from their abusers.

“One Place has the potential to transform the services that we give to victims. All too often we see victims who fall through the cracks,” said Connolly.

One Place has been set up to give services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and both child and elder abuse.

One Place of the Shoals, Inc. is in the process of raising money to purchase a stand-alone building away from the Lauderdale County Courthouse, to make the environment friendlier for victims.

You can contact the Lauderdale County District Attorney’s office for more information on how you can help One Place of the Shoals, Inc.

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