SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a look at local numbers shows there is much work to be done.
According to the Savannah Police Department, domestic violence assaults not involving a gun are up by more than 50 percent.
“It is frustrating, but you don’t give up,” said Cheryl Branch, Executive Director of SAFE Shelter.
Branch has 23 years of experience working with victims of domestic violence.
“This particular kind of crime is so frustrating because it’s done by someone in your home,” said Branch. “You know its a husband it’s a boyfriend its someone that is supposed to love and protect you.”
The complexity of the crime is why Savannah Police announced a brand new unit dedicated solely to domestic violence.
But, as Chief Roy Minter explained during a luncheon Saturday, there is still more work to be done.
“Domestic violence assaults without a gun are up 56 percent in our city,” said Minter.
4 the Jewel N U Global non-profit victim advocacy organization hosted the luncheon so people and police can work together to find solutions.
“As we go through different partnerships with the city of Savannah and our Chatham County Police Department they need to hear from us,” said Karen Alston, founder of the non-profit. “So that they can understand what they are not doing right and what they are doing right.”
Like Karen Alston, branch agrees partnership and collaboration are key.
“While SAFE Shelter does what it does really well–we are not the end-all for our clients,” said Branch. “None of the agencies are, our clients have multiple problems.”
That’s why on Dec. 16, the county will cut the ribbon on a brand new family justice center that will serve as a one-stop-shop for victims of domestic violence.
Victims will be able to find shelter speak to a detective and even find childcare support all in one place.
“Pulling it all together, I can only hope that as bad as the statistics are that this going to do something to give victims some hope,” said Branch. “Domestic violence is never going to go away.”
If you or someone you know is in a dangerous situation, we have resources to get you the help you need. Just visit here.