VINE: From tragedy to life saving for those affected by domestic violence


by Renee Murphy

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 9:09 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- From tragedy to life saving. We are taking a look at a national program with roots right here in Louisville. VINE grew from domestic violence murder into a safety net for victims.

A single newspaper article detailing a horrific crime leads two people on a mission of change.

“We just start talking about it and the result of that conversation is we want to get involved and our way to get involved was we called Judge Armstrong's office,” Mike Davis, CEO of Appriss, said.

Mike Davis and his co-worker saw the story about Mary Byron's murder in 1993.

They thought with their technology skills they could figure out a way that victims would be alerted if their perpetrator is in custody or being released from jail.

“We saw the Byron's and their face and what they were saying about their daughter and how this could have been prevented and it was a big moment,” Davis said.

While Davis and his partner were planning something so were former Jefferson County Judge Executive Dave Armstrong and Marcia Roth, who headed Armstrong's office for women.

“That was our “a-ha” moment that there was a big hole in the system and we needed to fix it,” Roth said.

“It doesn't take much time to save another person's life,” Armstrong said.

And with a little hope and belief that things could be better VINE, Victims Information and Notification Everyday, was created in 1994.

Marcia Roth and Armstrong worked with Davis and the system was unveiled.

“A big deal not only for me but for this community to lead the way in the nation and not long from now we see this across the world that we see this in every judicial system in the world,” Armstrong said.

The first VINE system ran off of one PC. The system would call a victim when their attacker was in jail or getting out of jail.

And when it launched.

“I kept waiting to hear from people saying they registered and it wasn't working and I never got those calls. It just worked,” Roth said.

The network has grown from 30,000 phone calls in the first month in Jefferson County.

Countless servers are operating in 47 states; in 2012 30 million notifications went out to victims.

“Before I was looking over my shoulder I was locking my front door. Every time I came and went my whole life changed,” a victim who did not want to be identified said.

This victim says she was being stalked and threatened.

She's now found comfort and security since getting notifications from VINE.

“I remember 20 years ago when Mary Byron was shot to death and at that time I thought, ‘oh how sad but that’s not anything that could happen to me.’ Which I’m sure a lot of people thought themselves. VINE keeps a lot of people safe,” a victim said.

The VINE software is now used by law enforcement to track down offenders and keep track of warrants.

The co-creator of VINE says their story is one of innovation that rose from grief and believes their final chapter ends in prevention.