The second annual report from the Mecklenburg County Domestic Violence Fatality Prevention and Protection Review Team
(DVFRT), shows that keeping victims safe cannot be a one-time event. The report finds that a victim’s safety requires an ongoing commitment from friends, family and advocates, to create a safety net of law enforcement, the courts and human services providers.
The chair of the DVFRT, retired district court judge Jane Harper, reported the group’s findings Tuesday night to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. “In all of the cases we examined, family and friends were aware that there was physical or emotional violence in the home,” Harper said. “Minding your own business may be just the wrong thing to do in those circumstances.”
Key recommendations of the second year report include:
- Raise awareness about the lethality risks of Domestic Violence
- Develop supervised visitation and exchange for children
- Provide privacy for individuals seeking protective orders at the Magistrate’s Office
- Expand victim advocate services to weekend and evening hours
The North Carolina Legislature created the DVFRT in June 2009 as a pilot project and chose Mecklenburg County’s Community Support Services, as the lead agency. Stacy Lowry is CSS director. “I am pleased with the progress we’ve made as a community and I’m optimistic that family, friends and co-workers will be quick to recognize the signs of Domestic Violence and do something to help,” Lowry said.
Domestic Violence homicides in Mecklenburg County have declined from a high of 11 in 2008 to four in 2011. Help is available through the Mecklenburg Women’s Commission at 704-336-3210 and through the United Family Services Shelter for battered Women at 704-332-2513.