• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Commissioners recognize October as Domestic Violence Month

County Commissioners recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month during their Oct. 5 meeting.

Commissioner Tonya McDaniel presented a resolution to Bridges to Hope Family Justice Center Director DeWanna Hamlin, who was joined by Forsyth County DA Jim O'Neill and other community partners.

O’Neill praised commissioners for their support of Bridges to Hope, which is a department of Forsyth County Government that works with community partners to provide services for victims.

“How many programs do you put in place that actually every day saves peoples’ lives?” said O’Neill. “This program saves peoples’ lives.”

Bridges to Hope offers services to individuals and families impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child maltreatment, human trafficking in one location at no cost. It's located at 725 Highland Avenue Annex 1 in Winston-Salem and can be reached at (336) 776-3255 Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

During last fiscal year, there were 1,123 complaints filed for Emergency Ex Parte Domestic Violence Protective Orders, 422 calls were made to the Family Services Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Line, and the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office closed 1,834 domestic violence criminal cases.

Additionally, the WSPD reported 4,284 domestic violence incidents, 250 Domestic Violence Protective Order violations, and 8 domestic violence-related homicide. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office reported 2,500 offenses flagged for domestic violence, serving 695 domestic violence papers, and there were 229 violence related incidents plus 3 homicides reported from Kernersville Police Department.

"We are always committed to honoring victims and survivors of domestic violence during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. However, we also want our community to know that agencies at Bridges to Hope provide services twelve month of the year. We also listen carefully to the needs, concerns, and feedback of survivors in our future service delivery planning." said Hamlin. "There is a science to hope. Hope is important for survivors in knowing that someone believes them, supports them and will be there to help them during their visit at the Center. The Family Justice Center Model is designed to help clients who often arrive at the Center not knowing what next steps to take, how to plan for safety or navigate systems in ways that decrease trauma. Our staff and partner agencies are trained and experienced in heart-centered and hope-filled care."

Bridges to Hopes partner agencies include Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina, Family Services, Inc., the Office of Forsyth County Clerk of Court, Forsyth County Health and Human Services Department, Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, City of Winston-Salem Human Relations/DEI Department, City of Winston-Salem, Kernersville Police Department, Legal Aid of North Carolina, NC, Department of Adult Correction, The Parenting Path, Winston-Salem Police Department and others.

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