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home : news : e-news August 12, 2022

10/31/2014 6:34:00 AM
Domestic Violence Touches Everyone
...and the cost is staggering--in lives and in dollars
Kathleen Balogh of the North Carolina Council for Women told the gathering that the cost of domestic violence each year is one-third of what it took the state to recover from Hurricane Hugo.(Lincoln Herald Staff Photos)
Kathleen Balogh of the North Carolina Council for Women told the gathering that the cost of domestic violence each year is one-third of what it took the state to recover from Hurricane Hugo.

(Lincoln Herald Staff Photos)
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Vicky Lingerfelt, who served as Executive Director of Amy's House from its beginning in 1995, was honored with a Leadership Award.  The gathering gave her a standing ovation in recognition of her years of service.

Wayne Howard

"The statistics are startling: 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in her life in America.  On average, 3 women are killed by a current or former intimate partner every day. While the emotional devastation of domestic violence on victims and their families is incalculable, a new study by researchers at UNC-Charlotte attempts to quantify the hard costs.

"The research reveals a staggering $307 million annual price tag for domestic violence in North Carolina.

"To put this figure into perspective, the economic toll of domestic violence in North Carolina every year is approximately one-third of what the state spent in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo."

--Kathleen Balogh, Western Region Director/Batterer Invention Program Manager for the NC Council for Women quoted a report from UNC-Charlotte in her remarks to a Domestic Violence Awareness Luncheon held at the James W. Warren Citizens Center Thursday (Oct. 30th).

Unfortunately, her audience already knew the scope and cost of domestic violence--many of them had first-hand experience. 

Amy Houser told about the death of her father at the hands of an abusive husband.  Lt. Tim Johnson, Major Crimes Unit Investigator with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, told how domestic violence had also claimed a life of one of his relatives.  Delane Clark, who chairs the Board of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, recalled the death of Tara Osburn and her estranged husband who killed Tara in late March before dying in a shootout with law enforcement.  Tara was 39 and left behind three children including a teen daughter who lived with her mother. 

Awards were presented to those who have helped sustain Amy's House, Lincoln County's Domestic Violence Shelter.  A Friends of Amy's House Award was presented to Lake Norman Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram for years of support for the project. 

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Skip Steele.  Steele, who works with Duke Energy, could not be present, so the award was accepted by his wife Shasta.

A People Helping People Award was presented to Kay Schwemm.

The final award presented was a Leadership Award presented to Vicky Lingerfelt.  Lingerfelt, who is battling cancer, was involved in the efforts of the Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Amy's House from the very beginning  20 years ago.  The gathering gave her a standing ovation as she accepted the award. 

The North Carolina Victim Assistance Network began in 1986, but Lincoln County had no domestic violence shelter.  In 1992, Lincoln County documented 47 aggravated assaults and 53 simple assaults.  There were no resources available for victims locally, so Lincoln County officers transported victims to other counties and paid a fee when space was available.  In 1993, the Coalition Against Domestic Violence was formed as a 501-c-3 agency.  In 1994 Heafner Tire Company held a golf tournament to raise money for the program.  In 1997, a grant from the Timken Foundation made it possible to expand the facility that had opened in 1995.  

Amy's House now has room for up to 23 people including victims and children.  Those who come to Amy's House can stay for up to 90 days.  The Coalition also operates Amy's Closet on NC16 in Denver.  The shop offers low-cost clothing and some other needed items.  When they come to Amy's House, many of the victims have only the clothes they are wearing.  Over the years, Amy's House has served 6108 women, 5740 children and 79 men.  Vicky Lingerfelt served as executive director of Amy's House beginning in 1995.

Law enforcement officers will tell you--the domestic violence problem is big.  Officers respond to 8-10 domestic violence related calls every day. Last year, the Lincoln County Communications Center documented over 1400 domestic violence incidents including one domestic violence homicide.

Amy's House is one of the charities supported in part by contributions to the United Way of Lincoln County.  Kathy Vinzant, United Way Director, told us, "This is why your United Way contribution is so important.  It keeps programs like the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Amy's House operating." 

The annual United Way campaign is underway and Cliff Brumfield, Executive Director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association (LEDA) is serving as the chairman of the fund-raising effort.  He told us Wednesday that the campaign is going well, "but we need everyone to sign those pledge cards or make a contribution.  The money raised is used entirely to support charitable organizations right here in Lincoln County.  Everyone should contribute at least something."

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