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Press Release

Jefferson County Agencies Awarded $800,000 to Enhance Responses to Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women has awarded One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center (One Place) $800,000 to support its mission as the comprehensive service provider for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Jefferson County. The Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (¡HICA!) and the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) partnered with One Place in its application to enhance services to survivors of domestic violence in Jefferson County. The award comes to One Place through OVW’s Improving Criminal Justice Responses grant program.

The collaborative application developed by One Place, ¡HICA!, and JCDH addresses key barriers to victims of violence that are seeking assistance, as well as significant risk factors that correlate with an increased risk of homicide for domestic violence victims.

“The awarded funds will allow our team of partners at One Place to expand on-site resources and offer more comprehensive support for survivors of domestic violence,” said Kelly Klehm, One Place’s Deputy Director. “This award advances our shared goals, which are to improve care for the survivors we serve and to make the process of receiving help less intimidating and more efficient.”

One Place’s successful grant application with ¡HICA!, and JCDH emphasized addressing barriers and risks faced by survivors. Through the grant by OVW, ¡HICA! will provide legal services to survivors of domestic violence, who might be hesitant to seek help due to language or cultural barriers. Also, JCDH will ensure the provision of specialized nursing services to victims of strangulation. When strangulation occurs in relationships with domestic violence, the risk of lethality to the victim increases by 750%.

“This grant allows us to expand our existing work at One Place and underscores our unwavering commitment to ensuring that the Latino community has full access to the essential legal services they need during their most challenging times. Working collaboratively with our partners, we aim to break down language barriers and create a haven where all victims feel heard, understood, and supported,” said Carlos Alemán, Chief Executive Officer of ¡HICA!.

“Violence, in any form, has direct and indirect deleterious impacts on society and is a public health concern.  JCDH is committed to violence prevention and supporting survivors of violent acts.  Receipt of this grant demonstrates the importance of collaborative partnerships to serve those in need,” said Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. David Hicks.

Since 2014, One Place has served as Jefferson County’s one-stop community response center for victims of domestic and sexual violence. Local agencies who are on-site partners at One Place include ¡HICA!, the YWCA of Central Alabama, Legal Services of Alabama, United Counseling, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office – Birmingham Division, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Birmingham Police Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama. At One Place, victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence receive wraparound services from one central location, with an emphasis on maintaining a survivor-centered approach.

“I am grateful to the Office on Violence Against Women for their support of our partner’s work in Jefferson County. Victims of domestic violence face numerous and life-threatening barriers to seeking help, and they deserve our best efforts and fullest support,” said United States Attorney Prim F. Escalona. “One Place’s work, alongside ¡HICA! and JCDH, will improve protections for victims most at risk of domestic homicide and will address cultural and language barriers that too often separate victims from life-saving care”.

In Jefferson County, offenders with a domestic violence history are responsible for the vast majority of homicides committed each year. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office has identified that more than 70% of homicide offenders in Jefferson County for 2021, 2022, and 2023 have previously committed acts of domestic violence.

In October 2020, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama launched Operation Safe Families to bring federal law enforcement alongside local victim service providers, local law enforcement, and local prosecutors to better respond to the needs of victims of domestic violence and the threats presented to the community by domestic violence offenders. Not only do domestic violence offenders often terrorize former intimate partners, national and local crime data confirms that domestic violence offenders present extreme risks to law enforcement officers and are often responsible for significant amounts of violent crimes in Alabama communities.

OVW’s Improving Criminal Justice Responses program is designed to encourage partnerships between state and local governments, courts, victim service providers, coalitions, and rape crisis centers to ensure that sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are treated as serious violations of criminal law.

Including this award, the Department of Justice has committed more than $1.6 million of funding for new projects to address domestic violence within the Jefferson County since 2022. The Office of Violence Against Women has awarded $500,000 to One Place Metro Family Justice Center to facilitate and implement the Domestic Violence and Firearms Technical Assistance Project (FTAP) in Jefferson County, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in Birmingham approximately $340,000 to enhance the response of local law enforcement and prosecutors in Jefferson County. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has dedicated Project Safe Neighborhoods grant resources to enhance protections for domestic violence victims within the Northern District of Alabama.

For more information on One Place and its services contact (205) 453-7261.

Updated October 5, 2023