Local News

Domestic Violence Victims Now Have More Options

Posted December 1, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Those who work with people who have been abused say December 1 may have marked the beginning of an era of new freedom for victims of domestic violence. New laws went into effect Monday that will make it easier for authorities to keep abusers away from the people they hurt.

Counselors and police officers say the new plan is a step in the right direction.

Domestic Abuse Counselor Linda Hawkins has seen her share of abuse in North Carolina. She says the situation can be particularly dangerous when the victim is not married to the abuser.

Three amendments are now on the books that counselors say will mean more protection for victims. The new amendments allow police to charge nearly anyone who abuses someone else, including family and couples who are not married. Lt. Wayne Sears of the Rocky Mount Police Department says these new alternatives will help.

The rules may seem a little complicated at first, but investigators say they're ready to put them to use. Judging by the rate of abuse in America, it shouldn't take long for the test to begin.

The average woman will try to leave an abuser seven or eight times before finally making the break.

If you're in an abusive relationship, or know someone who is, there are people at area women's centers and shelters who can help.

If you are in imminent danger call police immediately. They can start set up restraining orders and help you obtain legal guidance.