By Holly Kline
The murder-suicide involving Fishers teacher Shannon O’Malia Hall has people asking if anything could have been done to prevent the tragedy. In her case, perhaps not, but in many others an organization called Prevail offers help.
Prevail, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit organization that assists adults and children impacted by domestic violence in Hamilton and surrounding counties. Prevail is not a shelter but is a place to find various types of support and services.
“Prevail, Inc. is dedicated to serving victims of crime and abuse in a supportive environment that is meant to empower, educate and strengthen those we serve,” stated Prevail Executive Director Susan Ferguson. “By offering these life-saving services, free of charge, we help people move forward.”
Crisis Intervention is one service offered by Prevail to victims of crime.
“Advocates are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year to provide crisis intervention by phone and, when safe to do so, in person,” advised Ferguson. The 24-hour crisis line is 776-3472 and Ferguson emphasized that all services are free and confidential.
Other specific services include support groups, victim notification processes, community education and various individual considerations like safety planning, résumé writing and job placement support.
Community awareness is important to Prevail.
“We partner with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that victims identified in police reports are aware that services are available to them,” Ferguson said. “We also partner with local hospitals to ensure that victims of crime in their services have an opportunity to have an advocate present for their exams. We also seek opportunities with anyone who is willing to have us provide education on these topics.”
Ferguson was emphatic that it should never be anyone’s intent to make victims of domestic violence believe that they are at fault for the violence or that they should be able to predict it. However, she did go on to state that some early red flags in a relationship could include jealousy, isolation, hypersensitivity, and verbal abuse.
Prevail is funded in part by local, state and federal government sources. About 30 percent of Prevail’s funding is from the community.
“We count on the community’s generosity,” she said. “We serve approximately 3,000 victims of crime each year with a staff of 15. In addition, we touch another 3,000 people through our community education programs.”
Prevail is located at 1100 South 9th St., Suite 100 in Noblesville. Additional details about services can be found at www.prevailofhamiltoncounty.com, along with information about their Gala fundraiser coming up on Aug. 23.