BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Funeral arrangements have been made for Megan Montgomery. In lieu of flowers, her family is asking that you make donations to the One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center.
Reporting sexual or domestic abuse can be a lengthy process, involving several different agencies. But One Place helps with all of that. It brings in representatives from all the agencies to one place, making it easier for victims to get the support they need.
“When you have been traumatized or in crisis, just going to one other place to tell one more stranger about your experience, can be re-traumatizing,” says One Place Executive Director, Allison Dearing.
One Place Family Justice Center was created as a joint effort between the YWCA of Central Alabama, the Crisis center, Birmingham Police and Jefferson County DA’s office.
“These different agencies who are collaborating and working together have said we’re going to donate our staff, members from our agencies to go to one location and work together.”
In two short years, Dearing says they now see 30 to 35 people a month who decide to take what she calls that courageous step. And she says there are many more who find it too difficult to seek the help they need.
“Through intimidation, through coercive behavior, through all of that manipulation, we see it become very complicated and very confusing, often times for a person who feels trapped to even know what the next step can be to be safe.”
Center officials know leaving the relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim, so they do a lot of safety planning. She says it’s not uncommon for the victim to go back to their abuser, which is why a strong support group is vital.
“If you’re in a situation where someone trusts you enough to share that they are experiencing violence in the relationship, that you support them and that you say thank you for telling me, I want to help, you don’t deserve to be treated that way.”
If you or someone you know is in need of this kind of support, you can call One Place at 205-453-7261 or visit OnePlaceBirmingham.com.