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Officials Credit Awareness For Decline In Fort Bragg Domestic Violence Cases

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Last July, four Fort Bragg soldiers were accused of killing their wives. This year, things are much different.

In the months after the murders, 25 military spouses and their children came to a local shelter for protection. They spent a total of 96 days at the shelter. But since the beginning of the year, no one with military ties has come to the shelter for help.

Crystal Black, who runs CARE, a domestic violence prevention program in Cumberland County, said she believes couples now get help before things get out of control, thanks in part to better public awareness.

"People are more apt to seek assistance on the installation and they are not afraid it will affect their careers or the careers of their loved one," she said.

After Operation Desert Storm, local battered women shelters saw a slight increase in military wives looking to escape from their husbands. Three of the soldiers charged last summer had just come home from Afghanistan. Now, the whole process is handled differently.

Soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq go through a screening process to identify stress. While new prevention programs are in place, some things have not changed. Court protective orders involving soldiers in Cumberland County are averaging the same per month this year as last.

"We are still looking for better ways to do things, but right now, we are doing the best we can," Black said.

The CARE Center has just received a $73,000 state grant. The money will be used for victim awareness at Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base and the surrounding counties.


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