Response team to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault
by Elsie Hodnett
TALLADEGA COUNTY — Talladega County first responders have joined together to create the Talladega County Community Response Team to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“The purpose of the coordinated Community Response Team is to provide a multidisciplinary approach and response to issues involving sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Amanda Crow, domestic violence investigator for the Lincoln Police Department.

Crow said the first meeting was held Wednesday, and included representatives from the Lincoln Police Department, Talladega County District Attorney’s Office, Talladega County Sheriff’s Department, Sylacauga Police Department, Childersburg Police Department, Munford Police Department, Talladega County Child Advocacy Center, 2nd Chance Inc., Talladega County School System, Alabama Department of Public Health, Talladega County Department of Human Resources, Coosa Valley Medical Center, Direct Intervention and Prevention and Quality of Life Health Services Inc.

“We had 22 people at our first meeting, and hope to include more agencies in future meetings,” Crow said.

She said no matter what avenue the victim takes to report the crime, the Community Response Team can work together to ensure the victim receives all services available to them.

“We want to build a database of resources and compile a directory for agencies that deal with these issues, such as police departments, hospitals, churches and more,” she said.

Crow said the Community Response Team can assist service providers and system members with communication, networking and collaboration, bringing to light gaps in protocols and other services needed to support victims. The team is also a place where members of the community, offender treatment providers, schools and clergy members work together with system/service providers to discuss sexual assault and its effect on the community, and then equally and collectively participate in developing services, planning events and creating prevention strategies needed to boost community awareness and decrease sexual assault and domestic violence.

Crow said current goals include:

• Maximize community awareness and safety, protection and response for victims without the use of case reviews.

• Ensure a victim-centered response to violence and access to community resources.

• Hold sex offenders accountable.

• Include and represent underserved populations affected by sexual assault and domestic violence (ethnic minorities, older adults, people with disabilities, male victims and others) to ensure a voice and access to resources.

“We had a very successful first meeting and are pleased with the participation of the wide variety of organizations who attended,” Crow said. “We hope the Community Response Team will allow us to better support victims and hold those responsible accountable for their actions, with the whole county supporting this and coming together to address these issues.”

For more information call Amanda Crow at 205-763-4070.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

© 2013