Greensboro Police Want Special Unit to Address Domestic Violence

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — After responding to nearly 15,000 domestic violence calls in 2011, Greensboro police officers are calling it a major problem throughout the city.

However, the department has come up with a plan for fighting back against domestic violence.

Resources for domestic violence victims are currently spread out in the city and the police department does not have a unit dedicated to the combatting the issue.

According to Susan Wies with Family Services of the Piedmont, getting help as a victim can be complicated.

“When a victim decides to leave an abusive situation, it’s an extremely dangerous time,” Wies said.

In Greensboro, getting help as a victim often means retelling the story to multiple people and traveling between different government agencies.

“To break the life cycle of domestic violence is going to be a lot of stops. There’s going to be a lot of different places that need to be addressed,” Wies said.

City officials and the GPD now want to move all the necessary agencies into the same place.

“It wouldn’t just be Greensboro police, it would be all of the other entities that have anything to do with a domestic violence victim,” Lt. Karen Walters said.

Walters said she’d also like to see her department develop a special unit focusing on domestic violence cases.  Currently, the cases are handled by the Special Victims Unit, which handles “all crimes against people.”

“They’d specialize in it. So they know what they’re looking for, and they know what to bring to court,” Walters said.

However, there are many things that would have to happen before a Family Justice Center becomes reality in Greensboro.  The department still needs to find funding and collaborate with community partners before the idea can move past the preliminary stages.

If the Family Justice Center were to open, it would not mean that other family resource centers in the area would be shut down.

Those who are victims of domestic violence and feel as if they have nowhere to turn for help can call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.  The hotline can help victims find nearby shelter and counseling.