Ricker’s opens its doors to domestic violence victims

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind (Oct. 21, 2015)-- Ricker's gas stations in Hamilton County are now more than just places to fill up and get a quick snack. Starting this week, Ricker's will now be a safe haven for domestic violence victims.

"That’s the purpose of it, a safe place for victims to seek help," said Mary Jo Lee, CEO of Alternatives, Inc.

If someone enters the store and is in distress, the employees  are trained to call police or Alternatives, Inc., a domestic violence advocacy group.

"A caring business declares its doors are open when a battered person in crisis has nowhere to go," said Ann Murtlow, CEO and President of United Way of Central Indiana.

The safe haven partnership is between United Way, Alternatives, Inc., Hamilton County law enforcement and Ricker's.

Lee says the program is already implemented in Madison County and has been a huge community resource.

"A woman recently came into the store and she was obviously in distress and the staff recognized something was wrong and she said I need some help and food," said Lee.

In many rural communities, police departments are not fully staffed and someone isn't always present at the police station.  Convenience store are commonly 24 hours a day and serve as a place that is always open if someone is in need of help.

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