Tackling Domestic Violence In Oconee County - WSPA.com

Tackling Domestic Violence In Oconee County

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In one upstate county there was half- a- dozen deaths in just 6 months, all tied to domestic violence. The Oconee County Sheriff's office and a local shelter are teaming up to put an end to these startling numbers.

Hands crossed, and full of nerves. It's a topic that's not easy for "Jane" to talk about.

"I finally got tired of the abuse I was mentally, physically and spiritually broken," "Jane" said.

"Jane" is not the domestic violence survivor's real name, for safety reasons we are hiding her identity, but her story of survival is very real.

"It doesn't get any better, it just gets worse, and I'm very lucky I didn't end up dead," "Jane" said. 

She credits Safe Harbor with saving her life.

"They gave me my self esteem back, my confidence," "Jane" said.

But not everyone is as lucky. Deputies in Oconee County tell us they respond to at least one domestic violence related death every month, yet the county has no shelter.

"There was the bloody weekend where there were 4 deaths due to domestic violence," Safe Harbor Executive Director, Becky Callaham said.

To crack down on domestic violence deputies must go through a new training process that includes witness training for victim-less prosecutions, meaning when the victim backs out.

Callaham says the training is a start but the county needs a shelter. 

"Asking people to go to Greenville or Anderson is impossible," Callaham said. 

Not to mention the shelters in neighboring counties are already overcrowded. Safe Harbor tells us they had to turn away more than 170 eligible families in 2012.

Safe Harbor has plans for a new shelter.

It would be the first Domestic Violence shelter for women and children in Oconee County. It would provide everything from shelter, to counseling, and career advice.

"Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence if they have that safety plan, and they have tools to use to stay safe it's certainly going to save lives," Callaham said. 

"I'm on my feet now getting ready to move on and start a new life," "Jane" said.

 "Jane" just hopes other people will get the same fresh start she did with Safe Harbor.

To open the shelter Safe Harbor needs to raise $990,000. The Goal is to have the doors open by 2015 if not sooner.

If you would like to help Safe Harbor reach its goal Click Here.

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