CITY OF ALBANY, GA
Mayor Thomas Coleman

Domestic Violence Crisis Response Team

The Crisis Response Team is a formal program that was funded by a grant awarded by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. The Crisis Response Team began full operations in October 1995. The team consists of two civilian team members who contact victims of domestic violence and provide them with referral information regarding counseling and other available services. The team provides educational information about domestic violence to victims and the community as a whole. The team serves as a liaison between the victim and law enforcement. The Crisis Response Team created an informational network that has proven to be invaluable for assisting victims of domestic violence. The network includes the following agencies:

  • Albany Police Department - initial response to domestic violence incidents and investigations of such incidents;
  • District Attorney's Victim Assistance Program - assisting victims with the criminal justice system, victim compensation and victim impact statements;
  • District Attorney's Office - increasing prosecution rates for domestic violence cases;
  • Albany Area Community Service Board - counseling for victims, offenders and children in domestic violence situations as well as detoxification/rehabilitation services;
  • Sunshine Center - child advocacy center with complete investigation, prevention and intervention facilities; individual and group counseling for victims of domestic violence; anger management for offenders; counseling for addicts and rape crisis services;
  • Liberty House - safe haven for battered women and their children, counseling, child care classes, financial and job training;
  • Community Corrections Inc. & State Probation Office - monitoring and tracking offenders; teaching court ordered classes for batterers.

By March 26, 1997, the Crisis Response Team had contacted over 4,853 victims of domestic violence and provided them with information and assistance regarding their rights and available services in Albany. This contact includes phone calls, mail-outs, on-site visits, follow-up meetings, walk-ins, call-ins and referrals from family or friends. The Crisis Response Team has developed methods for obtaining information needed by its network agencies and a successful method of passing such information on. Due to the uniqueness of and success of the program, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council recognizes the Albany Police Department's Domestic Violence: Crisis Response Team as a model program for the state of Georgia and has listed it as a pilot program to emulate.

The Crisis Response Team has been successful in developing a comprehensive outreach, intervention, and awareness program that relies on non-traditional strategies for reaching Albany residents. The Crisis Response Team formed an alliance of available services and directly links the victims, witnesses and children of domestic violence with the free services that can best serve them. The team offers support and alternatives/ options for individuals who are in violent situations. The team offers services and plays roles that did not exist prior to its creation. Everyone involved in the process is assisted or benefits in some way. The victim is supplies with safety, information, support and services that many people were not previously aware of. The victim also receives a safety plan and options which offer protection for victims who are not ready or not able to leave at that time. Investigators are supplied with valuable details and information obtained from on-site visits and conversations. This information is included with the original incident report and follows the case throughout the judicial process. Also, with permission from a parent or guardian, schools are notified by the team when a student is a witness to or involved in a domestic violence incident. This helps school officials understand changes in students and prepares them to better offer support or services to their students. Each week, a list of completed cases is compiled and faxed to network agencies. This list has proven to be an invaluable resource to probation officers in tracking their probationers.

The Crisis Response Team has also created a database for its cases to allow for reference and analysis. The team has developed a set of safety tips for victims of stalking and has also initiated a 911 Cellular Phone Program to assist and protect victims of stalking, victims of serious incidents who do not have phones, and victims in cases where the offender has not yet been picked up on an outstanding warrant.

The City of Albany is now funding the program with an approximate annual budget of $40,000, and there are great expectations to continue the record of ZERO domestic violence homicides since the program started!

CONTACT: Kayren S. Hines, Crisis Response Team Leader, Domestic Violence Crisis Response Team, Albany Police Department, P.O. Box 447, Albany, GA 31702-0447, Telephone - (912) 878-2577, Fax - (912) 431-3299.

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