Newport News Police Department works to support survivors during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Posted at 4:29 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 21:15:38-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.—Domestic violence is more common than most people know.

On average, one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Earlier this year, the Newport News Police Department created a Domestic Violence Team to offer help and bring awareness to the issue.

“Domestic violence takes place 365 days a year - 24/7 people experience it,” said Cheryl Chavers NNPD Domestic Violence Specialist.

There were four homicides and more than 1,000 domestic-related assaults last year in Newport News, according to police statistics.

“Someone may want to leave an abusive situation, but they may not have the financial support that they need in order to get that apartment, to get that house, so resources are also invaluable to helping someone on their journey,” said Chavers.

There’s been one domestic violence-related homicide in the city this year, but assault numbers are trending the same.

“We firmly believe that if we can get on the front end of it in terms of providing support and education to those who are impacted by it, and then we can hopefully diminish the impact of domestic violence on our community,” said Chavers.

In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the NNPD Domestic Violence team is collecting personal items throughout October to benefit Transitions Family Violence Services.

They’re asking the community to donate personal items like shampoo, diapers, feminine products—things many people take for granted but could be a lifeline for someone who is finally leaving an abuser.

“Someone who has donated a comb to help a victim - it’s their first time being able to comb their hair by themselves without having their offender peering over at them or making them feel worthless," said Chavers.

Donation boxes are located at every police precinct and at community centers and churches.

Chavers says the most important thing to do to help someone in a domestic violence situation is just be there for them.

“Giving them that gentle encouragement, letting them know that you’re going to be there, and then pointing them in the right direction because safety is extremely important.”

Chavers wants to people to know there is always hope and help 24/7 for those who need it.

Related: Paint 757 Purple campaign needs funds to help combat growing trend of domestic violence

The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Transitions Family Violence Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating domestic violence in Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and York County. Its 24-hour Crisis Hotline number is 757-723-7774.

The YWCA of Southampton Roads 24/7 crisis hotline can be reached at 757-251-0144. The organization provides shelter and crisis services to children, men, women and LGBTQ individuals who are escaping violence and stalking.