Planning underway for Pitt County Family Justice Center

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 7:36 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Escaping domestic violence can be one of the most vulnerable times in someone’s life. Now, leaders in Pitt County are trying to make the process of getting help a little easier. Tuesday was the start of making that happen.

“It’s a cycle, and the only way to stop the cycle is to actually have treatment in place,” Pitt County District Attorney Faris Dixon said.

Treatment is what city and county leaders would like to simplify. They’re planning to build a “one-stop-shop” for survivors of domestic violence—something that’s become even more prevalent over the last few years.

“As COVID has went along and we’ve come out of it, I suspect that probably domestic violence will continue on, because actually, it’s a pattern. That once a person is involved with domestic violence or a victim, they might become a perpetrator,” Dixon explained.

Representatives from law enforcement, the Center for Family Violence Prevention, and other community leaders are working on launching a center to bring resources together.

“The family justice center movement is growing all throughout the country and in Europe, actually. And North Carolina is one of the leading states. Currently, we have 11 centers, either operating or in development,” Laura King, Center for Family Violence Prevention executive director said.

Pitt County is preparing to join those numbers. Organizers say it would ensure victims don’t have to repeat their stories.

“It’s a basic thing you learn early on as a detective. The least number of times you can interview someone and re-create a traumatic story that someone has told, the better,” Greenville Interim Police Chief Ted Sauls said.

The center wouldn’t just be for the sake of convenience. It would also keep survivors safe.

“The time spent between the day they see us and the day they’re able to get an appointment and meet with DSS and law enforcement is critical, and they’re doing all this movement around town with transportation difficulties but also with potentially somebody stalking them, risking being killed,” King explained.

Though making the center a reality is still years away, this is the start of many important steps to offering more support to victims.

“There’s so many possibilities, and this is day one of planning, so we’re very excited about that,” King said.

It’s a costly process to bring about a family justice center. Federal grant money was used just to pay for the planning alone.

As to where the center would go, that’s also in question. WITN will be following the updates as preparation continues at the center.

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