BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Local advocacy groups say more needs to be done to help victims of domestic violence before actions turn deadly.
Just this week, a 24-year-old woman was shot and killed by a man who Birmingham police say was likely a previous significant other.
One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center says to drive down homicide rates, communities and cities have to start digging deeper into precursors like domestic violence.
Assistant United States attorney Jeremy Sherer said of the people One Place knows who committed homicide in 2022, over 70 percent had a history of domestic violence offenses.
“These individuals aren’t just committing one domestic violence offense,” Sherer said. “They have an average of four domestic violence offenses”
To get in front of these homicides Sherer said firearm access must be denied to all with domestic violence offenses
“Statistically if there is a firearm in the domestic violence situation the victim is 500% more likely to be killed,” Sherer said.
Perryn Caroll serves as the executive director of Jimmie Hale Mission. She said by working with the victims at Jessie’s Place, they have learned the importance of speaking up.
“People are hesitant to get involved when there’s a domestic violence situation,” Caroll said. “I would just encourage people that if you see something, say something. It could save a victim’s life”
“The only way I’m alive is because someone heard my screams and called 911,” said Tiffany Ramming, a local domestic violence survivor.
Ramming is a survivor turned councilor at The Lovelady Center. She says the repeated offenses that are often only labeled misdemeanors are huge red flags that must be acknowledged.
“If he’s done it once there’s a good chance it’s going to escalate if it hasn’t already, and there’s no need for innocent people to die before we pay attention to ‘Oh well, I guess he’s a violent person,’,” Ramming said.
She says Lovelady Center’s focus is to help restore victims’ voices and hope
“It’s about education, I think it’s about advocacy, it’s about more people standing up and telling their stories so that we begin to understand better any way we can to prevent this from happening,” Ramming said.
The centers CBS 42 spoke with today said they want anyone who has or is experiencing domestic violence to know that your voice matters, you’re not alone and there are safe places for you to go.
For more information, you can visit the websites for Jessie’s Place, One Place Birmingham and the Lovelady Center.