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"I think we're looking at probably the best opportunity now to get some prevention in there than we've ever have," Taylor said. "It's got to be better, because there's never been anything." -- Karen Shugart
PILOT PREVENTION PROGRAMS
The CDC has funded pilot prevention programs coordinated by domestic violence coalitions in 14 states, including North Carolina. Three community-based projects in North Carolina are now receiving $71,000 annually under the CDC's DELTA (Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Alliances) program: The Coalition for Family Peace in Chatham County; the Albemarle Hopeline in Elizabeth City; and Domestic Violence Shelter and Services in Wilmington.
United Family Services in Charlotte also applied for the funding when it originally was available. Karen Parker Thompson, the nonprofit agency's director of domestic violence services, said she didn't know why they weren't selected to participate in the program but guessed it was strictly a matter of stiff competition. The aim of the program is to develop community responses to family violence. This year is the second year of the three-year program, which is tracking the results of original groups. The CDC is now reviewing applications for renewed funding for the 14 original grantees, who are being tracked through the program's existence — meaning Mecklenburg agencies aren't eligible to apply.
The CDC has also funded a new $3.68-million training program at the Injury Prevention Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. Launched in 2003, the PREVENT program trains people who work with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence in applying prevention concepts. Locally, Mecklenburg County manager Harry Jones has recommended hiring a consultant to analyze the community's domestic violence services, said Stacy Lowry, interim director of the county Women's Commission. The audit is supposed to recommend goals, including what the county's role should be, after focusing on transitional housing, prevention services and Latino services. -- Barbara Solow and Karen Shugart
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN MECKLENBURG COUNTY • Tied with Wake County in number of domestic violence murders in 2004.
• Domestic violence-related murders have risen 25 percent (from six deaths in 2002 to eight deaths in 2004).
• The domestic violence-related murder rate per capita is in North Carolina's lower 20th percentile.
(Source: Mecklenburg County domestic violence study, April 2005.) -- Karen Shugart
N.C. House Bill 1354, which passed in 2004, toughens penalties and boosts funding for services for victims of domestic violence in North Carolina. The bill:
• Requires all convicted offenders to complete abuser treatment.
• Creates a new felony crime of nonfatal strangulation.
• Calls for a study of anti-violence education in public schools.
• Permits judges to award custody to victims of family violence during protective order hearings when children are at risk.
• Prohibits job discrimination against domestic violence victims who take time off work to attend court hearings.
• Approach gender violence as a men's issue.
• If a brother, friend, classmate or teammate is abusing his female partner...don't look the other way.
• Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes.
FIVE THINGS MEN CAN DO TO PREVENT GENDER VIOLENCE
• If you suspect a woman close to you is being abused...gently ask if you can help.
• If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help.
(Source: MVP Strategies)
Here are some resources on domestic violence issues:
TO LEARN MORE
• Mecklenburg County Women's Commission: 704-336-3210
• Shelter for Battered Women's 24-hour hotline: 704-332-2513
• United Family Services: 704-332-9034
• NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence: www.nccadv.org
• PREVENT project at UNC: prevent.unc.edu
• NC Department of Health and Human Services, Injury Prevention and Violence Branch: 919-733-3732
• CDC's Injury Prevention division: www.cdc.gov/ncipc
• US Dept. of Justice Violence Against Women Office: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo