Ashley's SafePack: A free, virtual space for domestic violence victims is about to launch
10:19 PM, Sep 25, 2014
As their daughter's accused killer sits behind bars awaiting trial, the family of a murdered Tampa Bay area woman is working on launching an online tool to help others in domestic violence situations safely leave their abusers.
The idea came from the blue plaid satchel Ashley Atherley, 28, kept hidden in her desk at work. Inside the bag, they found birth certificates, bank account information, all of her two daughter's records. The pack contained the key documents Atherley needed to successfully leave her abusive relationship.
Unfortunately, she never made it that far.
On December 1, Atherley was discovered dead. According to police, she was murdered by Edly Atherley, her husband who she had recently separated from and was in the process of divorcing.
"You know I can't bring my daughter back," Atherley's mom Lucia Robles said choking back tears. "But finding that information was invaluable. It allowed us to put her children in a safe place. Without it, it would have been very, very difficult."
Robles has now decided to devote her life to getting her daughter justice and fighting for others in a similar situation. Through the generosity of
, Ashley's family is coordinating with
The Spring of Tampa Bay
to launch what they hope will be a nationwide effort called "
The SafePack will be a virtual space for domestic violence victims to safely upload their important documents free of charge. They'll then be able to access them anywhere with an Internet connection, hopefully making their exit both easier and safer.
"I feel like this is a really good tool to help keep women safe especially when used in conjunction with a professionally trained advocate at one of the centers," said Mindy Murphy, President/CEO of The Spring of Tampa Bay. "We always say that victims should not try to do this alone."
Murphy pointed out that abusers often use these important documents as a method of control.
"Now she'll have those documents stored electronically, so she can access them from anywhere and she doesn't have to feel like I can't leave because I don't have Johnny's birth certificate," Murphy said. "The more documentation they have, the more likely they are to get things restored to them that rightfully belong to them."
It's some much needed strength at a time, this local mom knows all too well, can be the most dangerous of all.
"If I could save just one young lady like her that would be okay," said Robles.
A portion of the proceeds from the upcoming "Ashley's Angels Golf Tournament" will be donated to The Spring of Tampa Bay to help launch "Ashley's SafePack." The tournament is being held on Friday, October 17 at the Claw at USF.
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