Teaching student domestic violence awareness

October 2018


CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say there's no other crime they spend more time or resources on as they do domestic violence.
The numbers tell part of the story: between 35,000 and 40,000 calls for service for domestic violence calls and 9,000 criminal offenses annually.

"When people are victimized by domestic violence they are sick. Domestic violence is a cancer and it is killing our community," said Sgt. Craig Varnum. "But we don't reach out. We don't ask for help. Many times people don't ask for that help because they don't know where to get it."
Police, prosecutors, and advocates in Mecklenburg County are working to build a Family Justice Center that would offer help for survivors in one easy place.

The father of a woman killed by her ex-boyfriend is now making domestic violence awareness his mission.

"We are also forming domestic violence awareness clubs in high schools in Mecklenburg County," said Ron Kimble, a former Assistant City Manager in Charlotte.

Years ago, Kimble's daughter was killed in Florida by her ex-boyfriend.

Now, Kimble is focusing mostly on prevention and education, with six domestic violence awareness clubs in schools where students are learning the curriculum.

At West Charlotte High School, the domestic violence awareness curriculum is part of the school's SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) campaign, and it's geared to males and females.

"Around healthy relationships," Kimble said. "And the early warning signs to girls about what are red flags and also to teach guys and men how to treat women with respect and dignity."

At Charlotte Country Day School, students started a domestic violence awareness club two years ago.

"How to handle yourself not as a bystander," said Aishwarya Sharma. "We've definitely focused on the youth primarily because we want to prevent it before it begins rather than focusing after the fact so we're technically cultivating a new generation that is seasoned enough to act proactively and be able to save those around them and save themselves as well."

The way 18-year-old Taylor Riley sees it, awareness and education should start early.

"I think we knew we had to start something with this age group because we're constantly talking about the future. In order to make differences in the future you have to start early no matter if it's talking about domestic violence," Riley said. "I feel like it should be taught at a young age especially at the high school level where you are taking in everything and you need to learn these things because that's when these behaviors can start happening."

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