CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The theme for this year's Domestic Violence Awareness Month is 'Everyone Knows Someone,' emphasizing the fact that this crime can affect all walks of life. That's why the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Safe Alliance made it their mission year-round to help victims safely get out of abusive situations.
Editor's Note: This story discusses domestic violence, which may include descriptions of violent acts. Reader discretion is advised.
The Survivor Resource Center is one tool that provides a one-stop shop for victims to connect with multiple agencies and work to develop a safety plan including where they would go, what documents they might need, etc.
“Your safety plan is the most essential thing that a person needs," Safe Alliance advocate Tabitha Lane said. "It takes seven times for someone to leave a domestic violence situation on average and safety is [of] utmost importance.”
CMPD's Domestic Violence Victim Advocates also play a part in helping victims identify the red flags earlier on. What typically starts as verbal or emotional abuse experts say can escalate to physical violence that can sometimes turn deadly.
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“It’s talking to them and letting them know, 'Hey this is an unhealthy relationship or these are unhealthy behaviors' because domestic violence doesn’t get better it gets worse usually," CMPD Domestic Violence Victim Advocate Stephanie Escobar said.
So far in 2022, CMPD reports about 26,000 -- about 10% of their overall service calls-- are domestic violence related. There have also been five domestic violence-related homicides.
Not every case results in a report. CMPD Domestic Violence Detectives say they would like to be called to help de-escalate the situation more than anything.
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“Sometimes we’ll see repeat suspects, but not always the same victims," CMPD Domestic Violence Detective Jennifer Bumgarner said. "Sometimes the victims have changed from victim to survivor status so they want to get out of that situation and that’s our goal.”
CMPD is also sponsoring a collection drive to help Safe Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter gather supplies. There is also a fundraising event scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 22.