Local News

Program Working for Domestic Violence Victims

Posted August 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Domestic violence can happen to a loved one, a family member, even the woman next door. Fayetteville police said a new program designed to help authorities hear a woman's cry for help is working.

The program worked to perfection early Monday morning. The Fayetteville police department issues panic buttons to some victims of domestic violence. They're easy to use and work faster than calling 911. Simply push the button, and police will be on the way.

The program worked to perfection early Monday morning when Fayetteville police answered a call from one of the alarms. "It was just a big bang, so I wasn't sure what it was," said the domestic violence victim.

A Fayetteville woman said the noise at 4 a.m. turned out to be her estranged husband breaking into her home. She ordered her children to lock their bedroom door, and that's what she did with hers.

Using the phone lines, the panic button alerted a monitoring service, which automatically sends police. That was critical for a mother of three, who says Frank Jackson burst into her bedroom, armed with a kitchen knife. Police arrived within minutes and subdued Jackson with pepper spray.

The victim said she was still here because of the quick response she received.

Norma Hall, from the Victim Assistance Unit, said the program was worthwhile.

The Fayetteville Police Department has about 15 of the panic buttons. They're specifically for city residents who are victims of domestic violence. In order to get one, the victim must have a restraining order against the abuser.

The Orange/Durham Coalition, Duke University Police and a local security company have also teamed up to offer the panic alarms. They've developed a program called AWARE. That stands for The Abused Women's Active Response Emergency. ADT Security Systems is paying for the panic alarms. The Orange-Durham Coalition for Battered Women and local police agencies decide who gets them.