Domestic Abuse Family Shelter works to educate public about crisis line

Domestic abuse hotline hopes to provide lifeline
Published: Oct. 5, 2023 at 7:41 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG Miss. (WDAM) - It’s a phone call that saves lives and offers support and resources in the wake of a domestic situation.

It also serves as a direct line to providing shelter, counseling, and legal assistance once a victim is entered into the system.

Domestic Abuse Family Shelter assistant director Sandra Bonner spends much of her time answering calls from the national 24-hour crisis line.

However, she works to provide local services to those in the following 11 counties in the Magnolia state: Forrest; Lamar; Marion; Jones; Covington; Wayne; Greene; Perry;, Jasper; Smith; and Jefferson Davis.

“Well, the first thing we do when we get a call, we ask them if they’re in a safe place,” Bonner said. “Then, we ask about their location.

“Sometimes, we get some clients that say they’re not in a safe place. Then we ask them to hang up and call 911.”

Bonner said residential workers are trained and must go through the process of a short screener with the victim.

Once the phone rings, a residential worker asks for basic information, like if the victim has children or pets, or if the abuser is present. If the victim is in a safe place, they may be asked more about their situation.

All this is to help better provide the proper help to eventually schedule a meet-up time and place.

“When we receive a call, even in the middle of the night, we go out in twos to make sure we get that family to safety,” Bonner said. “We do ask them to meet us at a private location so we can be better prepared for our safety as well.”

Bonner said the local crisis line receives about 10 calls a day and roughly 30 calls a week, adding up to hundreds in a year.

Bonner said the overall mission of the phone calls is to help domestic violence victims overcome traumatic situations and blossom into strong survivors.

“So, if you’re going through a domestic abuse situation or you know someone who is, you don’t have to be ashamed,” said Bonner.

If you’re in the Pine Belt and need help breaking free of a domestic abuse situation, please to call, 1-800-649- 1092.

The Domestic Abuse Family Shelter also accepts calls from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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