Domestic violence reports in Durham continue to increase, but the number of services available to help victims is lacking, according to a recent article in Indy Week.
Last year, the Durham Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit handled more than 2,100 reports of abuse. The Durham Crisis Response Center – the only support agency in the county for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse – sheltered more than 230 women during the same period. But it had to turn away more than 100 women who sought refuge there – simply because there are only 17 beds at its emergency shelter.
The shortage of support for abused women in North Carolina means that many who are turned away are forced into the difficult decision of returning to an abusive situation or even living on the streets, according to agency leaders.
The problems facing domestic violence shelters in Durham are the same ones that plague similar agencies nationwide. Inadequate funding makes it difficult for domestic violence crisis centers to serve the ballooning number of people who need help. Until last year, the Durham Rape Crisis Center provided transitional housing for eight families for up to 24 months. But once it lost federal funding, it had to close down, the article said.
One of the reasons for the growing numbers is that more victims are actually reporting domestic violence. That they are brave enough to report the crime is a good thing – so it is tragic when there is nowhere for them to go once they’ve taken the first courageous steps to leave an abusive situation.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may feel hesitant about reporting the abuse or leaving your abuser – particularly if one of your biggest fears is that there is no shelter available to you. But as North Carolina domestic violence attorneys, we strongly urge you to try. You should also consider taking legal action, such as getting a North Carolina order of protection against your abuser.
North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a list of domestic violence programs available in your area.