shelters. The ACADV was officially incorporated in 1980.
history, ACADV has worked on public policy issues to help protect
victims of domestic violence and their children. During this time, the
state has passed several laws that create greater legal protection for
battered women and provide for funding for safety and services for
victims and their children.
In 1981, the state
legislature passed the Protection from Abuse Act, which established a
protection order for victims of domestic violence. The protection
order, issued by the courts, was designed to provide more protection
and legal remedies for victims.
Funding for services
for battered women was improved in 1983, when the legislature passed a
bill providing a state marriage license fee to fund shelter programs.
The bill also codified and defined a domestic violence shelter. At an
ACADV meeting in Montgomery that year, the service areas for each
shelter were divided by county so that all counties had a shelter
program to serve them.
In 1985, the ACADV
member shelters first received money from the state budget. A budget of
$119,733 was granted to ACADV from the Special Education Trust Fund for
all shelters to share. ACADV was also formally incorporated the same
Funds from the U.S.
Victims of Crime Administration were available for victims in the state
of Alabama for the first time in 1986. That same year, the Warrantless
Arrest Act was written, but did not pass the legislature.
Attorney General Don
Siegelman in 1987 established a hearing to receive the testimony of
victims of crime. ACADV members successfully worked to get domestic
violence victims included in the hearing. One moving testimony came
from Rhonda Hutto, who told of the abuse she suffered at home from her
violent husband. Two months after her testimony, her husband killed
her. Siegelman over the years has cited Hutto's story as having had a
major impact on his work on and support of domestic violence issues.
The first ACADV awards
banquet was held in 1987, noting the outstanding work of legislators,
journalists, individuals, and others in the support of domestic
Changes in the state
budget moved ACADV funding from the Special Education Trust Fund to the
state's general fund.
In 1988, ACADV Board
of Directors wrote and approved minimum standards for member shelter
programs, and implemented a peer review of standards.
In 1989, the
Warrantless Arrest Act was passed by the state legislature. Warrantless
Arrest allows a police officer to arrest an offender in a domestic
violence case without a warrant if the officer has "probable cause" to
believe a crime was committed. The officer does not need to "see" the
crime being committed in order to make an arrest. The act applied to
felony or misdemeanor offenses.
Carol Gundlach was
appointed as the first executive director of the ACADV in 1990. A
training conference was held for law enforcement officers on the issue
of the Warrantless Arrest law.
The legislature passed
a bill in 1993, revising the provisions for a Protection From Abuse
order. The revisions provide more options and protection for victims by
allowing the judge to grant a PFA while other legal actions, such as a
divorce are pending, and allowing the victim to apply for the PFA "pro
se," or, without an attorney. The Family Violence Protection Order
Enforcement Act passed Congress a year later making it a criminal
offense to violate a temporary restraining order, including the
The Americorps VISTA
program, which puts volunteers in service positions around the country,
began working with ACADV in 1995. As a result, VISTA workers have been
placed in the ACADV general office and a number of member shelter
programs around the state each year, providing additional outreach to
victims, and training a new generation of volunteers on issues of
In 1995, a Revision of
the Warrantless Arrest Act passed, along with the Custody and Domestic
or Family Abuse Act. The ACADV held statewide judicial training for
circuit, district and municipal court judges on the issue of domestic
violence and the state laws impacting those cases.
The ACADV published
the Child Advocate training manual, for staff in local shelter programs
working with the children exposed to domestic violence. The Americorps
VISTA program expanded to 45 volunteers working with Coalition member
programs throughout the state.
In 1996, the ACADV
board of directors initiated Staff Development Training, requiring
every fulltime worker in member programs throughout the state to be
trained in a special three-day training. A statewide task force headed
by ACADV was formed to develop protocols for the prosecution of
domestic violence and sexual assault cases.
prosecutors on domestic violence and sexual assault issues was held
statewide by the ACADV in 1997. The ACADV also initiated the first
multi-agency conference on domestic violence in conjunction with its
annual board meeting. ACADV Standards Reviews changed this year from a
peer review process to reviews by outside evaluators. The ACADV also
participated in the Governor's Advisory Council on Domestic Violence.
In 1998, the ACADV
joined the information "superhighway" with a WebPage, access to
Violence Against Women network, and its own computer based networking
system with shelters, called Safepassage.
To build community
cooperation around the issue of domestic violence, the ACADV through an
ADECA grant, hired four new staff to help local shelter programs
develop and coordinate community councils throughout the state in 1998.
With the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the Coalition developed and
trained 15 teams of medical professionals statewide to develop medical
protocols on domestic violence.
importance of providing responsive social services for victims of
domestic violence, the ACADV trained 800 JOBS and Temporary Aid for
Needy Families (TANF) workers from the Department of Human Resources.
Working with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges,
the ACADV in 1998 developed a model code legislative package for
In 1999, the ACADV
continued to develop Coordinated Community Councils throughout the
state, to develop local expertise and initiatives. In response to
legislation requiring standards for programs that work with abusers,
the ACADV developed program standards and training for perpetrator
intervention programs throughout the state. ACADV continued its
training efforts with the Department of Human Resources by providing a
five-day training for DHR workers for a consecutive five-month period.
In 2000 the Governor
signed a bill into law making domestic violence a separate crime in the
criminal code as of July 1. The bill defines misdemeanor and felony
domestic violence crimes, creates stiffer mandatory minimum sentences
for those arrested repeatedly, and directs police officers to look for
a primary aggressor in assessing domestic violence complaints. It also
doubles the sentences for offenders who repeatedly violate a Protection
From Abuse order.
potential lethality of domestic violence, the Legislature passed a bill
requiring an arrested abuser to be denied bail until a hearing is held
before a judge or magistrate. The Holding Period Bill, which went into
effect August 1, provides a "cooling off period" in jail for offenders
arrested for domestic violence crimes. If the hearing is not held in 12
hours, a bail can be set. During the hearing, the judge or magistrate
can make findings on the record about whether the arrested is a threat
to the victim, and ordering the accused to stay away from the victim.
prohibiting insurance discrimination against victims of domestic
violence was signed into law on May 17. The Domestic Abuse Insurance
Protection Act, which went into effect August 1, makes Alabama one of
32 states to prohibit the insurance industry from discriminating
against victims of domestic violence. The law, which was developed by
the ACADV prohibits an insurance provider from using a person’s status
as a domestic violence victim or an association with a victim as a
reason for denying coverage, increasing premiums, or canceling a
policy. It also makes provisions for a victim to continue an insurance
policy after separating from the abuser.