A training session was recently held at the Tifton office of the State Bar of Georgia by two Georgia Legal Services Program attorneys, Vicky Kimbrell and Tomieka Daniel.
Kimbrell said legal advocates from four separate agencies learned the basics of the Family Violence Act Law and how it protects victims.
“In 50 percent of the cases, the violence is completely ended when a TPO is filed, and in 25 percent of the remaining cases, the violence is substantially reduced,” she said. “TPOs are most effective in communities where they are part of a coordinate community response that takes domestic violence seriously and where everyone works together to support the victims and hold violent batterers accountable for their actions.”
During the training, Kimbrell said domestic violence advocates learned the basics of assisting domestic violence survivors in filling out and filing their own TPOs to get legal protection.
“These advocates then call Georgia Legal Services attorneys to represent the survivors in court proceedings,” she said.
The domestic violence agencies also help victims with shelter, safety planning and support counseling. Anyone can get agency help or more information through the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-334-2936 (1-800-33HAVEN).
When asked what effects does domestic violence have on communities, Kimbrell said 128 victims of domestic violence were killed last year in Georgia, according to the 2012 DV Fatality Review, including three in Tift County.
“The shelters took more than 68,000 telephone calls,” she said. “Domestic violence is a choice the abuser makes to use power and control to hurt victims. It costs the community through increased law enforcement, medical costs, court costs and the misery of children and families that must live in fear and danger.”
She explained that Georgia Legal Services represents victims in the 154 counties outside of Metro Atlanta, including Tift and the surrounding counties through their Albany/Valdosta GLSP offices. A victim can call 1-800-498-9469 for more information about the legal resources available to them.
GLSP attorneys assist victims to obtain TPOs and also to help secure the economic support that survivors need to support themselves and their family.
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.