Behind Every Number Is a Story: Status of Intimate Partner Violence in Mecklenburg County
In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Mecklenburg County representatives, community partners, and survivors released the latest data related to intimate partner violence in Mecklenburg County. The report contains wide-ranging data about domestic violence-related activity in the community and serves as a reminder that behind every number is a person with a story.
It is the first time since 2018 that Mecklenburg County has compiled a report with data on intimate partner violence. The report was developed by the Community Support Services department in collaboration with its partners to raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence and to equip local leaders with data to inform decisions.
The report is divided into two broad sections:
Public Safety and Criminal Justice
Health and Human Services
The sections’ respective data provide a look into the interactions of victims and survivors with services, and the demand for those services across systems and agencies.
“As a survivor and supporter of survivors, it is vital I know how my community is impacted by intimate partner violence,” said Melody Gross, a member of the Domestic Violence Speakers Bureau. “This report allows us to determine gaps of needs and resources and to create connection in closing those gaps. There are stories and experiences behind the data, and we need to share those as well.”
The report’s findings include:
29 intimate partner violence homicides occurred during 2018-2022.
More than 15,000 domestic violence protection orders were filed with the 26th Judicial District Court from January 2018 to June 2022.
Community Support Services completed over 4,000 intakes for intimate partner domestic violence counseling services for adults and children from July 2018-June 2022.
From July 2021 to June 2022, more than 1,000 households experiencing homelessness or housing instability disclosed a history of domestic violence.
The full data report is available at CSS.MeckNC.gov/Domestic-Violence. While it highlights much of the work that has been completed, it also underscores the community’s need, according to author Jess Sykes from Community Support Services.
“For every report we have of a criminal incident occurring, there’s so many who didn’t call the police or incidences where nothing was said,” said Sykes. “For every number we do have, we don’t know how many we don’t have. Talking about these issues, especially as a community, helps with the stigma and shame survivors carry.”
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services is also planning a series of Community Conversations that will further explore the connection between intimate partner violence and substance use.
"The Community Conversations Series will provide a way for Mecklenburg County and its partners to meet residents where they are and open up dialogue about the overlap between domestic violence, substance use, and mental health issues,” said Elyse Hamilton-Childres, director of Mecklenburg County Community Support Services’ Prevention and Intervention Division. “The Domestic Violence Fatality Prevention and Protection Review Team consistently observes this overlap in intimate partner violence homicide cases. Although substance use and mental health do not cause abusive behaviors, they often exacerbate already dangerous situations. The goal of the Community Conversations will be to reduce stigma, better understand residents' experiences with these issues, and provide resources for prevention and intervention."
The dates and locations of the Community Conversations series will be announced as they are scheduled.