HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 39.4% of women and 36.3% of men in the state will experience a form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Also according to NCADV, a call is placed to a domestic violence hotline every nine minutes in West Virginia.

With those numbers in mind, the need for services to help victims of domestic violence is great. It’s something the executive director of Branches Domestic Violence Shelter Amanda Weiss-McComas can attest to.

“Cabell County, for instance, has one of the highest numbers of domestic violence petitions that are filed in our courthouse in the entire state… We usually serve around two thousand people a year across the five counties that we serve,” Weiss-McComas says.

Branches serves Cabell, Wayne, Putnam, Mason, and Lincoln Counties, and is the first licensed domestic violence shelter to open a second emergency shelter location in the state.

“When I started full-time three years ago, we had probably eight full-time staff members, and today we have 21,” says Sara Blevins, director of development for Branches.

This growth occurred under the leadership of Amanda Weiss-McComas, which is why:

“I was appointed to the Family Protection Services Board and that is the board that provides the licensure for the 14 licensed domestic violence programs, but they also oversee the batterers intervention program and the visitation and exchange programs in our state,” Weiss-McComas says.

Appointed by Governor Jim Justice, colleagues of Weiss-McComas say they have full confidence in the decision.

“Under her leadership, we have grown exponentially as an agency and I know that she’s gonna take that same drive and same motivation and take it statewide,” Blevins says.

Citing nearly eleven years of experience and expansion with Branches, Weiss-McComas hopes her experience as executive director will prove valuable to the board’s proceedings.

“I feel like I will be able to bring a lot of knowledge to the position and hopefully help others,” Weiss-McComas says.

“These agencies that depend on this board to function in an effective way are doing life-saving work,” Blevins says.

For more information about Branches Domestic Violence Shelter, visit their website here.

For more information about the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, visit their website here.

For more information about the Family Protection Services Board, visit their website here.