A local University is taking steps to help protect young women from domestic violence.
Alabama State University is first in the state to develop a preventive, informative program with the support of community, law enforcement and federal funds.
When you look across campus, it’s hard to tell who’s a victim of domestic violence. The crime can occur in many forms through the acts of stalking, dating violence and sexual violence.
Officials at Alabama State University say they’ve had no official complaints, but they want to have the tools in place for young women in case someone becomes a victim.
Campus Police Chief Huey Thornton secured a 300,000 dollar grant through the US department of Justice to help pay for the program.
Huey Thornton, Chief, ASU Police, says “You don’t sit back and wait on something to become a problem you, you try to get out in front of it with the number of students we have especially young female students on campus engaged in dating relationships there’s a good chance that we will have an incident.”
The grant money will be pay for an additional campus police officer trained to handle domestic violence issues, additional staff training, informational materials and services through one place family justice center.
Montgomery County District Attorney, Ellen Brooks, says Alabama is number two in the nation for the number of women killed by men.
Ninety-eight percent of those women were killed by people they knew. Sixty seven percent of those women were married, divorced or in a relationship. She says she sees this as an opportunity to set an example for all the universities in Alabama.
Ellen Brooks, Montgomery County District Attorney, says “ As a prosecutor I believe this is crime prevention at it’s best I believe that not only will we make good cases but more importantly we can stop the escalation of violence.”
Females will be told about how to prevent violence against women and the resources available during student orientation. If a female student reports a problem she will be referred to the one place family justice center and given a special kit with evidence collection and personal safety items.
Steve Searcy, One Place Family Justice Center, says “We will help the designated individual that’s been identified as the law enforcement officer to track and identify and follow a concept of not just responding to and reporting but to be a part of prevention.”
Prevention is the Universities main goal.
Carmen Douglas, V.P. Human Resources, ASU, says ,”We want to make sure we put things in place where this will not be an occurrence at our University.”
The grant money will provide services for the next three years.
This grant only services women. The university says it already has measures in place to assist males who are victims.