Grant awarded to fight domestic violence

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A group dedicated to aiding victims of domestic violence and prosecuting abusers in Chilton, Autauga and Elmore counties has been awarded a $152,000 grant, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced earlier this week.

The 19th Judicial Circuit Domestic Violence Unit was created in 1996 to investigate and prosecute crimes against women. The unit consists of two assistant district attorneys, four investigators and three advocates.

The advocates work to inform victims of services provided by the unit and support organizations and make sure proper aid is being provided. They also prepare victims for court hearings.

“Families and individuals who experience the trauma of domestic violence deserve justice for the crimes committed against them,” Bentley said. “I commend the staff and organizations involved in this unit for their dedication to seeking justice and for helping victims through their ordeal.”

The number of domestic violence incidents continues to increase with population growth, according to unit officials.

The unit’s goals for 2012 include increasing the number of arrests for domestic violence crimes, providing domestic violence investigators to all enforcement agencies within the three counties and monitoring the progress of victims and offenders after sentencing to ensure victims are not abused again.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice. Local matching funds of $50,867 have been committed to the unit.