BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Unit works hundreds of new cases each month, and the holiday season is no different.
“Every day. I mean it’s every day! There’s not a day that goes by that something doesn’t come across our desk,” said Sgt. Angela Clayton with the Domestic Violence Unit.
By the time a domestic violence case reaches our newsroom, the case has usually taken a tragic turn, like the shooting death of Shuterica Lipscomb two weeks ago or the house fire in Ensley the fire department told us may have been related to a domestic incident.
These represent just a fraction of what the Domestic Violence Unit at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office sees on a daily basis.
And they look into all of them. Likely, it’s not the first time a crime has been committed.
“It’s starts early in a relationship. It starts extremely early and there are tell tale signs, but you have to be in a place where you recognize those signs and you see them and you decide, ‘OK, this is not for me,’” said Clayton.
She says they often work with and share information with other departments that are investigating their own domestic violence incidents.
“We trade reports or vice versa. I have to call them. ‘Do you have any previous reports for this person?’ And they send me copies of those reports. It’s just ongoing,” Clayton said.
According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, the call volume to their hotlines does decrease during the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean there’s no abuse. It may be that victims are just more hesitant to report it.
Regardless, Clayton and her team fight against it daily, whether it’s a holiday or not.
In their office, they’ve started gathering clothing and hygiene supplies through donations. She said the the goal is to help the people they serve feel more human.
“We came in contact with so many victims that fled their home naked. I mean naked, with nothing, just ran out of the door! … We just thought to ourselves what can we do to give them something? To make them feel a little bit whole,” said Clayton.
The office is still accepting donations from those who want to give.