Group targets area domestic violence

Published 10:58 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Several organizations and individuals have banded together to form a task force aimed at preventing cases of violence in the home.

The Chilton County Domestic Violence Task Force’s main objective is to educate the public — particularly youth — on subjects related to domestic violence, its causes and how to prevent it.

“Education is the key,” Adam Baker, Task Force chairman, said. “The biggest thing you can do to prevent domestic violence is not when it is happening but prior to that — to stop it.”

The task force grew out of an event held in October 2008 at Glad Tidings Church of God. Baker helped organize a drive for the Family Sunshine Center, a Montgomery area women’s shelter. At the culmination of the drive, the church hosted a banquet in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Then, in February, the task force held its first meeting. Groups with representatives in the task force include the Family Sunshine Center, Chilton County Department of Human Resources, District Attorney Randall Houston’s office, Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Chilton-Shelby Mental Health, Thorsby Police Department and Chilton County Sheriff’s Department.

Chilton County Sheriff Kevin Davis attended a regular meeting of the task force Tuesday.

“Any education or assistance in the prevention of domestic violence is greatly appreciated by the law enforcement community,” Davis said.

In the minutes it takes for law enforcement to respond to a domestic violence call, the suspect often leaves before assistance arrives and the victim is scared. For this reason, if there is physical proof of assault, a deputy can sign a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.

Davis said the sheriff’s department had responded to 128 domestic violence/fight calls between Jan. 1 and present.

Baker wishes to get other local law enforcement agencies involved in the group.

“We need participation from law enforcement. That’s vital because they’re the first responders to any domestic violence situation,” he said.

The task force held a training session for law enforcement earlier this year with the help of Detective Susan Peavey of the Alabaster Police Department. Future sessions are in the works.

The task force also aims to work with schools, the CITY program, daycares, individual caregivers and parents. The goal is to break the cycle of violence by making people aware of the resources that are available.

“It’s all about breaking the cycle of violence,” Baker said. “That’s one of the slogans of the center.”

For more information or to get involved, contact Baker at 280-6875 or the Family Sunshine Center at (334) 206-2100 or