FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Being the victim of domestic violence, rape or sexual abuse is traumatic. Sometimes, getting to all the resources can be very difficult too. That’s why One Place of the Shoals was created.
WHNT NEWS 19 viewer Tim Glover nominated Angie Hamilton, an Assistant District Attorney in Lauderdale County, who was instrumental in the program’s development. Glover’s email reads in part:
“Angie is the driving force behind the purposed One Place, which would house all the victim service providers under one roof. Angie is very active in raising the funds necessary to make the one place dream a reality.”
WHNT NEWS 19’S Clarissa McClain went to Florence to surprise Hamilton and Pay It Forward.
Angie Hamilton is a busy woman and camera shy. That’s the reason WHNT NEWS 19 enlisted the help of Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly to set up a faux meeting. Once Hamilton saw our cameras, we explained it was a setup and presented her with $319 in cash.
“Thank you,” says Hamilton. “That’s awesome.”
Awesome is how many people feel about Hamilton. She spearheaded the One Place of the Shoals project, which started in October of 2013. But the idea came after a deadly domestic violence case in 2009.
“It came about in 2009 with the death of Hollie Newberry,” explained Hamilton. “Christopher Rich, who has now been convicted of capital murder, killed Hollie Newberry in front of her 6-year-old and 1-year-old child. At that point, my light bulb went off a little bit.”
Hamilton says she felt restructuring was necessary to make it easier for victims who aren’t in the court system.
“We can step in as a place where a victim can come and ask questions, they can come get resources without having to prosecute,” says Hamilton. “This is not about prosecution, this is about resources.”
One Place is open to any victim in northwest Alabama. They can even get advice from a civil attorney at no charge.
“They can’t afford to feed their children, they can’t afford to get a divorce, they can’t afford to fight for custody and that’s held over their head,” says Hamilton. “That’s part of the abuse.”
Most importantly, Hamilton wants people to know if they come to them, they won’t be forgotten once they leave.
“We’re making lifelong relationships with these victims,” says Hamilton.
Right now, One Place is operating through the District Attorney’s office on the second floor of the Lauderdale County Courthouse. Hamilton says the $319 will go toward the fundraising campaign to get a new building.