CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There’s a phone number that victims of domestic violence can call for help. Sexual assault victims can also call the same number at Safe Alliance in Charlotte.
Mecklenburg County DSS also has a hotline people can call to report child abuse and neglect, but advocates say parents in crisis or those who simply needed some quick help didn’t have a safe outlet to call.
That’s now changed.
“It’s the new Greater Charlotte Hope Line and it is a dedicated staff of eight full time staff and 14 part time staff who have no other responsibilities other than to respond to caller calling into our 24-hour crisis hotline,” said Caitlin Donley, the Chief Advancement Officer for Safe Alliance. “We wanted people to know there is hope, that there is someone on the other line who will listen to you, they will believe you and they will give you tips to increase your safety immediately.”
Donley says while advocates at Safe Alliance talked with domestic violence and sexual assault victims and the county’s hotline responded to child abuse allegations – they realized there was a gap that needed attention. So the county and Safe Alliance teamed up.
"So what we did was recognize a co-occurrence of child abuse and domestic violence as well as sexual assault. It's as high as 75% so instead of having all these fragmented lines for the people to call into - we wanted to have one resource" said Donley.
The number is 980-771-HOPE (4673).
“A caller may be calling in for one specific question but the advocates are really able to work with that caller to assess everything that’s going on with that family,” said Donley. “So you may be calling with something going on with your children and our advocates may be able to help you realize there’s also domestic violence going on in the household and help you increase your safety as well.”
It’s the first time in years there’s a phone number in Mecklenburg County dedicated to parent support. Donley says it’s a pro-active move.
When police are called to a house where a child is hurt by a parent, chances are abuse had been happening long before.
The New Greater Charlotte Hope Line wants to give parents help before it's too late.
“We want to be able to help parents before it even escalates to even a possibility of a child abuse neglect case” said Donley. “This is to kind of head it off and catch it before it even a remote possibility.”