Domestic violence

Victim Services of Cullman will again receive state-approved funds this year to help support an intervention program aimed at changing offenders’ behavior while working to hold them accountable.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey this week approved a $30,000 award through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to fund the nonprofit agency’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP). The funds are made available to the state through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The DVIP program, according to Victim Services, is a nationally-certified, 24-week intervention program intended to “decrease the likelihood of further violence by changing offender thinking and behavior and by holding them accountable for their actions.”

Sheriff Matt Gentry said local cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse peaked during the long lockdown months of the COVID-19 pandemic last summer, but have since tapered to their previous pre-pandemic levels. But he welcomed the award, saying it’s a state-level validation of everything Victim Services endeavors to do to protect some of the community’s most vulnerable people.

“I would like to think that, with the hard work of Cpt. Edward Potter, our Victim Services deputy, the efforts that Victim Services makes to help victims is recognized by the state,” Gentry said. “Whether it’s one victim in a particular case, or five, it’s our hope that the working relationship our local law enforcement has with Victim Services helps foster a high level of confidence in the very good work that they do for people who often have nowhere else to turn.”

Victim Services was among four North Alabama agencies — including Huntsville-based Crisis Services of North Alabama Inc.; Florence-based Safeplace Inc.; and Albertville-based Domestic Violence Crisis Services — to receive grant funds totaling $350,275 from the governor’s office to help avert and mitigate domestic violence and sexual assault. A local match of $7,500 will supplement the Victim Services award.

Victim Services is administered by a local board, and partners with local law enforcement to help bring offenders before the court system to bring justice for victims, while innovating ways to prevent future instances of abuse.

To learn more about Victim Services’ DVIP program, contact coordinator Susan Jones at 256-775-2600, or via email at susan@victimservices.online.

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