A VICTIM SERVICES OFFICER is provided through the Colbert County District Attorney's Office. The Officer is available to provide services to victims (and their families) of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and rape, drunk driving, homicide, and other violent crimes. The Officer will provide crisis intervention, emergency room and legal advocacy, emotional support, information, education, and referral.
They can assist in completing petitions for Ex Parte Orders and Orders of Adult or Child Protection. The advocate can accompany you to court; keep you informed about case status; and assist in completing the application for Crime Victim Compensation. The goal of the Victim Services Officer is to refer or provide services to meet the material, emotional, and informational needs of victims of violent crime and their families, allowing for faster and more complete recovery from the effects of the crime.
It is the policy of the Colbert County District Attorney's Office to provide equal access to victim advocacy services to all victims of violent crime within the county without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, or veteran status. The Victim Services Officer works closely with, not only the Colbert County Sheriff's Office, but also with all local law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors, and other agencies.
The Victim Services Officer can often provide transportation to court. They can also provide the victim with other agencies that may be able to assist with medical attention and shelter.
Office hours are 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The Victim Services Office is located in the District Attorney's Office on the second floor of the Colbert County Courthouse. During office hours the Officer can be reached at 256-386-8520. Evenings and non-office hours we can be reached by calling 911.
Victims are reminded to call "911" if they are in immediate danger.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVAL STRATEGIES
Once a violent act takes place in a relationship, the violence almost always re-occurs. It tends to get more severe and more frequent as time goes on. This happens even when the abuser apologizes and promises to change after a violent incident.
Before an attack.....
MAKE CONTACTS -- Contact the Victim Services Officer to find out what you can do the next time your abuser becomes violent.
HAVE QUICK ACCESS -- To a phone, cash, clothing, and important items such as car title and keys, birth certificates and social security cards for yourself and the children, insurance or Medicaid cards and shot records, records of your spouses income, their birth date, and social security number, a list of family, friends, and doctor's phone numbers, credit cards, blank checks, and bank books. Keep an emergency kit with keys, cash, and essential papers together in an old purse or other small container so that you can easily and quickly grab for it and leave.
During an attack.....
DEFEND and PROTECT yourself.
CALL FOR HELP -- Scream loudly and continuously. You have nothing of which you should be ashamed. They do.
GET AWAY -- Escape if you can. Go to a relative's or friend's house or a domestic violence shelter (Safeplace can be reached by calling 256-767-6210).
CALL Law Enforcement -- The police must now attempt to protect you from further abuse. They will arrest your abuser if they have enough evidence and refer you to the Victim Services Officer who will provide or arrange transportation to a hospital or safe place.
After an attack.....
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION -- Tell them what happened. Ask them to take pictures of your injuries. Follow the medical options offered.
MAKE A POLICE REPORT -- Even if you do not want your abuser arrested. It will help in the future to have everything documented. This way the courts will believe you when you can provide the reports showing history of the pattern of abuse.
SAVE EVIDENCE--Including medical and police reports, dated photos for the scene and your injuries, torn clothing, any weapons used, and statements from witnesses.
TALK TO THE VICTIM SERVICES OFFICER -- The officer understands and can provide support such as those listed above.
You can reach the Victim Services Officer, Ms. Shanda Elliott, by calling 256-386-8520
FACTS ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
One if five high school girls report being abused by a boyfriend.
About half of the incidents of intimate partner violence experienced by women are reported to the police. Of those reported, the offender was immediately arrested only 20 percent of the time.
The majority of domestic violence victims are women. Females are 84 percent of abuse victims and 86 percent of victims abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Seventy-five percent of domestic violence victims defend themselves during the attack.
The percentage of female murder victims killed by a current or former intimate partner has remained at about 30 percent since 1976.
Intimate partner violence occurs less often between women in same-sex relationships. While 30.4 percent of women in opposite sex relationships have reported similar abuse. However, men in same-sex relationships report intimate partner violence almost twice as often as men in opposite-sex relationships-15 percent as opposed to 7.7 percent.
In a study of women with disabilities, 56 percent reported abuse. The abuser was their male intimate partner 80 percent of the time.
Women with unwanted or unplanned pregnancies have four times the odds of experiencing violence by their partners than women with intended pregnancies.
CRIME VICTIM'S GENERAL RIGHTS
To be present at all criminal proceedings where the defendant has that right.
To confer with the prosecutor regarding bail hearings, guilty pleas, pleadings of insanity, hearings, sentencing and probation revocation hearings.
To be present at any hearing in which the defendant is present before a probation and parole hearing officer and to full participation in all phases of parole hearings or probation revocation hearings.
To be heard at juvenile probation revocation hearings, probation revocation and parole hearings initiated by the board of probation and parole, and release proceedings for persons found guilty by reason of insanity. Victims also may offer a written statement, video or audio tape in lieu of a personal appearance.
To protection from harmful threats from a defendant for activities arising out of cooperation with law enforcement officials and the right to a secure waiting area during a court proceeding.
To speedy disposition of cases and speedy appellate review.
To fair employment rights (including the right of a victim, witness or member of a victim's family not to be discharged or disciplined by an employer for honoring a subpoena or for participating in the preparation of a criminal proceeding).
To regain property from a prosecutor or law enforcement officer once it is no longer needed for evidence or retention during an appeal (within five working days upon request) unless it is contraband or subject to forfeiture proceedings.
To credit or intercession services by the prosecuting attorney if the victim is unable, as a result of the crime, to temporarily meet financial obligations.
To limit compensation for out-of-pocket loss and for qualified medical care necessary as a result of the crime.