• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Monday, October 4, 2021

Forsyth’s Family Justice Center commemorates Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Forsyth County will be helping spread awareness of this serious issue throughout the month as it continues to provide services to those experiencing domestic violence at its Family Justice Center.

Forsyth County now has a Bridges to Hope Family Justice Center, which is a one-stop location to serve individuals and families experiencing interpersonal violence such as domestic violence, sexual assault, child maltreatment, elder abuse and human trafficking with services and support provided by many partner agencies. The former Safe on Seven Domestic Violence Center, now administrated and hosted by Forsyth County, transitioned to the nationally recognized Family Justice Center model earlier this year, and it’s still located at 725 N. Highland Avenue, where it continues to provide in person services while taking precautions to protect staff and clients from COVID-19. The Center can be reached at 336-776-3255 from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The Center offers a variety of services onsite and by direct referral including victim support, advocacy and safety planning, legal consultation and support, electronic filing of applications for 50B domestic violence protective orders, assistance with law enforcement and court cases, financial education, screening for public benefits, counseling and more.

"Bridges to Hope provides wrap-around services for survivors of interpersonal trauma to reduce the number of visits to agencies in multiple locations,” said Family Justice Center Director DeWanna Hamlin. “Clients often face challenges related to childcare, limited transportation, and access to advocates. The Center also involves partners from various systems working together to increase safety outcomes on behalf of survivors, from a single location. Many organizations have contributed to the planning and implementation of Bridges to Hope and remain committed to the vision despite organizational challenges that the pandemic has brought to the logistics of service delivery.”

The county is participating in Domestic Violence Awareness Month in various ways. The commissioners plan to approve a resolution recognizing the month later in October. There will be a social media campaign on the county’s Facebook and Twitter. There will be purple ribbons tied around the front of Annex 1 where Bridges to Hope is located. The Winston-Salem Police Department’s Domestic Violence Awareness car will also be displayed outside the facility on certain days.

Domestic violence affects 10 million adults annually in the United States across all demographics. Abuse can be physical, financial, sexual, emotional, or psychological. Abusers follow a pattern of behaviors and tactics based on power and control. There were 1,037 complaints for Domestic Violence Protective Orders in Forsyth County between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health, more than 15 million children in the United States live in homes where domestic violence has occurred at least once, leaving the children at greater risk of repeating the cycle by entering into an abusive relationship or becoming abusers themselves.

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