Authorities hold domestic violence helpline on Thursday

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - There will be phone help available all day Thursday for those affected by domestic violence.  It's the second year for the "U Can Be Safe" hotline.  It will run from noon Thursday until midnight.

Organizers hope it will help eradicate domestic violence throughout the community.  "This is not an event.  This is a movement," says organizer Sunny Slaughter.   "It can be domestic violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence.   We would also like to hear from perpetrators," Slaughter added.  "Perpetrators who just know they want help.

The program was announced Wednesday.  Representatives from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the Birmingham and Bessemer Police Departments and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office where on hand along with victims' advocates.  "How long will we stay quiet?" said Bessemer chief Nathaniel Rutledge.  "How long will we ignore what we see?"   D.A. Brandon Falls followed up.  "This is an area that demands our attention and we all need to get involved."   In Birmingham, police have investigated 1800 cases of domestic violence this year alone.  They've also conducted thousands more crisis interventions, group sessions and referrals.  "So we know this problem is real," said Chief A.C. Roper. "And until we combine forces, we have little chance of stopping it."

When callers call in Thursday, trained and licensed social workers will share information about the legal process, options of where to get help. There will even be transportation available for people in crisis situations who need to get to a safe place immediately.   To make sure that everyone gets help, there will also be a hotline for Spanish speakers and those in the deaf community.   Here are the numbers you can call tomorrow:  For English, it's:  1-800- 281-5396.  For Spanish, it's:  1- 877-298-3220.  There will also connect those in the deaf community with T-T-Y operators.  Again, it runs from noon tomorrow until midnight.