As a long time advocate for victims of domestic violence, I am deeply saddened by CASA’s recent difficulties and, ultimately, the closing of both the Myrtle Beach and the Georgetown shelters. Safety is the No. 1 concern for those of us working with battered women and the loss of these “safe homes” is tragic.
It is extremely important for victims to know that there are, indeed, alternatives and dedicated advocates ready to assist them with temporary solutions. The article published in the Sun News on June 15 did not contain any information which would have given victims hope that there is help and thus, this letter.
The Family Justice Center at 1530 Highmarket St. in Georgetown (843-546-3926) can provide many of the services a victim may need to safely leave a dangerous situation, free of charge. These services include assistance in securing restraining orders, orders of protection, legal information, counseling, and other services. The Center provides child care as well. Most importantly, a referral to a safe shelter can be made and help with transportation can be provided. After hours, a call to 911 is recommended.
The message to victims is, “Do not stay in a violent situation. Our staff will work with you in complete confidentiality and help you to reach safe shelter.”
Also during this period of transition, FJC will assist Horry County residents who are in immediate danger from domestic violence.
Georgetown county advocates, including those at the Family Justice Center, the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgetown City Police and both the Summary Court and the Solicitor’s Office have worked diligently as a team to create a plan designed to ensure that victims in this area receive an effective, immediate response.
The mission of the Family Justice Center in Georgetown is to reduce the injuries and deaths resulting from family violence. Victims, desperate for help, need to know that there are people who care and are ready to provide safety – their lives may depend on this knowledge.
The writer is executive director of the Family Justice Center of Georgetown.