FAIRMONT, WV — According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a call is placed to a domestic violence hotline every nine minutes.
“We have a lot of poverty in this state,” explains HOPE Inc. executive director Michele McCord. She says factors like lack of access to transportation and even internet could possibly increase domestic violence rates. “I think a lack of education, lack of employment, things like that. Those may keep people in situations they don’t necessarily want to be in.”
NCADV also reports one-third of West Virginia’s murders are domestic violence related. Those are staggering statistics, but there are options for those suffering in the shadows. It can often be difficult for programs like HOPE Inc. to get the word out, because of the complexity and personal nature of domestic violence situations.
HOPE Inc. meets survivors where their needs are. They can help people escape their abusers and they offer emergency shelter for survivors and their children. They also offer individualized support to help people get back on their feet.
“Maybe us helping them file a protective order, it could also be setting up an appointment to come in, maybe they’d like to discuss a safety plan,” McCord said. The organization’s hotline (304-367-1100) is active 24/7 and is completely confidential. Often, it serves as a resource to simply kickstart the protection process.
While domestic violence is often perceived as an issue that largely effects women, McCord said it spans the population and can happen to anyone — no matter age, gender, sex or status.
McCord says everything situation is difficult; but perhaps it is those they haven’t reached that often weigh the heaviest.
“I just think about the people out there that don’t know that we could be their last resort. We could be that option for them. And they’re just suffering in silence.”
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS HELP YOU CAN CALL THE HOTLINE AT 304-367-1100.