Alabama Distributes Federal Grant Funds for Domestic Violence Victims

On December 25, Alabama officials from Governor Kay Ivey's office shared news that the state will distribute $220,000 in federal grants to help victims of domestic violence in Alabama. The grant funds will be split between two community organizations. Of the monies, $150,000 will be sent to AshaKiran Inc, which is a nonprofit based in Huntsville. The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence will receive $70,000.

Services Provided by AshaKiran Inc.

The AshaKiran Inc. community organization delivers culturally sensitive crisis intervention services. Their volunteers and workers speak at least 49 languages, so they're able to help immigrants as well as others who don't speak English as a first language. Volunteers and social workers at the organization help clients with paperwork and documentation, safe housing, clothing, job searches, hygiene products, signing up for benefits and more. The AshaKiran Inc. organization serves clients in Montgomery, Mobile, Jefferson and Madison Counties.

Services Provided By the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence performs advocacy, outreach, support and direct services to other organizations that assist victims of domestic violence in Alabama. It will receive $70,000 for its Economic Justice Project. This project helps domestic violence victims who need to become self-sufficient after leaving unsafe situations.

Where the Grant Funds Came From

The $220,000 in grants are from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. They will be administered and distributed by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Governor Ivey said in a prepared statement that nobody should have to suffer from the pain of domestic violence. When a person is victimized in this way, help should be available to them. Ivey added that she commends the staff and volunteers of the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the AshaKiran Inc. organization for the work they do to help Alabama residents who are trying to get out of a violent situation.

Scope of Domestic Violence in Alabama

In Alabama, statistics on domestic violence are combined with those of all other injuries, so the state's health department isn't able to provide specific information about the rates of domestic violence incidents, injuries caused by domestic violence or the number of fatalities that result from domestic violence situations. The state refers to information collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, about 12 million Americans experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking every year. About one in four women will experience stalking, intimate violence, assault or financial neglect by their domestic partner. About one in 10 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Other sources suggest that about 31% of women and 26% of men in Alabama will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Victim Support Services in Alabama

In addition to the two agencies receiving these grants, several other agencies also offer aid to the victims of domestic violence in Alabama. The Alabama Coalition Against Rape operates 15 rape crisis centers in the state. They operate on a 24/7 basis to help rape victims. Their services include medical and legal support, providing clean clothing and bedding and counseling sessions in individual and group settings. The Alabama Coalition Against Rape also provides training to legislators, law enforcement, medical and healthcare workers, teachers, hospitals, universities and prosecutors about domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Is on the Rise

In Alabama, law enforcement and healthcare personnel have seen an increase in domestic violence reports and injuries. In Hoover, AL, there was an 11% increase in domestic violence calls in 2019. Many first responders believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is playing a big role in the worsening epidemic of domestic violence. When people are stressed as a result of a job loss, illness or economic uncertainty, they may be less able to control their anger. Many people have turned to substance abuse or lost control over their addictions, which also increases the risk of domestic violence. When people are working and learning from home, mandated reporters are less likely to see the injuries or notice a change in the mood of a domestic violence victim.

Domestic Violence Is a Hidden Problem

Many victims of domestic violence don't report what happens to them. They may feel as if nobody will believe them. Even if they think someone will believe them, they might assume there's no help available to them. They may be afraid of what their partner will do to themselves, their child, their pet or their extended family members.

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