Problem Solver: Assistance for Domestic Violence Victims

Help is a phone call away

By Jerry Brown | jbrown@wmbb.com

Published 09/29 2016 09:15PM

Updated 09/29 2016 09:15PM

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

One in every three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime...that according to national numbers.  But, help is a phone call away.  October is the month that brings attention to domestic violence. That's the focus of this week's Problem Solver report.
 
For Monica Patten, her life at home changed after 15 years of marriage.  That was three years ago.  She tells us, "we started having trouble and we started fighting.  It became physical shortly after that. I was in a type of a hell that i was living."
 
When law enforcement officers became involved investigating the family issues, a Salvation Army Domestic Violence staff counselor was contacted. But, Patten did not react immediately.  Patten tells News 13, "it took me about seven months before I finally left and I did.  When I went to the shelter, it was very welcoming."
 
The Salvation Army is one agency that provides assistance for domestic violence victims. The hope is to connect with potential victims before the violence starts. Kimberly Garbett is the Executive Director of the Panama City Salvation Army Domestic violence program.  Garbett talked to us about the usual patten of the problem and says, "you know the psychological effects of domestic violence and the emotional abuse that typically comes before physical violence ever happens is so much more damaging and so much harder for victims to deal with."  But, Garbett says help is close by and, "we have multiple services we offer.  We have a victim's advocate who can go to court with victims to be there with them when they file for an injunction or when they have a hearing.  We offer safe housing for victims...I think that is a big thing we do...empowering victims to make decisions they have never been allowed to make."
  
Garbett says the local office averages about 15 new cases weekly in just Bay County probably 5-10 in the rural counties per week as well. They get at least 200 hotline calls per month. 
 
Monica Patten sums it up and says, "no matter what somebody is telling you or what you feel like...there are people that will help you get out of a situation right now no matter what the situation might be."
 
In the past 30 days, the Panama City Salvation Army office has provided over 54 hours crisis counseling just with the hotline calls. Here is the crisis hotline number 1-800-252-2597... 24 hours a day.  In addition to Bay County, the service is provided to Gulf, Washington, Holmes, Jackson, and Calhoun counties.
 
 

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.