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Domestic violence task force looks to gain support

A group that aims to provide resources to victims and potential victims of domestic violence met Tuesday to discuss the organization’s future goals.

The guest speaker was Jeannie Gibson, chairperson of Crenshaw County’s domestic violence task force, who provided encouragement and information to the Chilton County group members.

Gibson said the task force conducted a teen summit recently with the help of school counselors and teachers, and more than 200 students attended.

“I’m still just in awe,” she said. “Those kids really came together.”

Adam Baker, chairman of the Chilton County Domestic Violence Task Force, wants to follow that lead. With support from the Family Sunshine Center of Montgomery and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Chilton County organization hopes to pattern itself after similar task forces, such as the one in Crenshaw County, by getting concerned citizens involved.

“That’s something that’s really important to me — stopping something before it starts,” Baker said.

The impact of a task force can go deep into a community by involving citizens in many areas. These include business owners, the faith-based community, attorneys, judges, health professionals, jail medical staff, circuit clerk’s office, department of human resources, and law enforcement agencies.

Gibson recommended compiling an e-mail list of contacts.

“So far, our community has responded wonderfully — the whole county,” she said. “We may not get them all to the meetings, but we know they will support us.”

Through donations, the Crenshaw County task force has helped house victims of domestic violence, as well as transport them to a safe location during the times of greatest danger. The task force has achieved nonprofit status, she said.

“Our county now has a better understanding that this may be happening next door,” Gibson said.

The Chilton County Domestic Violence Task Force has a mini telephone directory it intends to distribute to crime victims in the area. The small pamphlet can be easily hidden and placed in a convenient location.

The biggest hurdle now seems to be spreading awareness that the group exists and wants to make a big impact in the area.

“We’re trying to concentrate on growing the task force itself and getting more people involved,” Baker said.

For more information, Baker may be reached at 280-6875.