Domestic violence up in Danville, officials hope a new grant will help

Local News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Danville Police Department is seeing a 10 percent increase in domestic violence calls so far this year compared to the same time period last year.

From Jan. 1 through Aug. 31 of 2019, the department received 551 domestic violence calls. In the same time period of 2020, that number rose to 609 calls.

The department received a grant that will allow them to train officers in a new protocol to address domestic violence.

“You have to peel back layers of trauma when you’re dealing with domestic violence,” said Coretta White, Residential Services Coordinator for HAVEN of the Dan River Region.

White works with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and she has great hope in what this grant means for the region.

“With this grant, it allows us to eliminate domestic violence and also it offers us to prevent homicide.”

The $91,550 grant through the Department of Justice will train Danville officers in a protocol to determine how likely it is a domestic violence call will turn deadly by asking a serious of questions.

“‘Has he used a weapon against you or does he have any weapons?'” said White, reading off one of the questions. “So with questions like that, if they answer yes, more than likely they will consider it to be high danger.”

At that point, officers would call HAVEN, which offers shelter or other services to help the situation.

“They’re unfortunate calls for everyone involved,” said Maj. Timothy Jones with the Danville Police Department, “and they’re dangerous calls, so we don’t want an increase in any crime, but especially a crime like this.”

However, domestic violence is up in Danville by more than 10 percent this year over last year, which is a trend reported across the country.

“A reason why I think we’re seeing the trend is because of COVID-19,” said White, pointing to the isolation and high-stress factors at play. “People don’t have funds, they’ve lost their jobs, and stuff like that. All of that affects domestic violence. It actually escalates it.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, please call the Virginia Family Violence & ​Sexual Assault hotline at 1(800) 838-8238.

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