NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Newport News Police Department is one of few law enforcement agencies in our area with a domestic violence team.

Dr. Cheryl Chavers is the department’s domestic violence specialist. She works with survivors, officers, recruits, churches, civic organizations, and also trains employers to recognize abuse.

“Domestic violence happens in a cycle, and each time you are in that cycle, it increases the level of violence. So, the sooner we can break the cycle, the sooner we can move that person to safety.”

Police Chief Steve Drew welcomed Dr. Chavers to the department in April 2020.

“If you ask me if we’re seeing fewer domestic violence calls today, than we were a year or two years ago, I would say no. I do believe we have better in-house training,” Chief Drew said.

“Having this domestic violence team has been a benefit to this department. It has been a benefit to the community in three ways: helping our true victims who are in situations that are in need and need someone to talk to immediately right away; training this department to look at it differently, how we respond/report, How important it is to take detailed notes; and making sure we record these conversations.”

This domestic violence awareness month, Dr. Chavers and the Newport News Police Department organized a “Chief’s Forum on Domestic Violence.”

“The more awareness we have out there in law and in other entities, I think makes things better. I don’t know that we will ever be able to live in a perfect world where it doesn’t happen. I think it’s important to let individuals know that there is hope and there are people who care.”

On October 26, police chiefs from Suffolk, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Hampton all sat down to answer questions about domestic violence.

Watch the live forum HERE.

“My hope is that myself and the other chiefs can sit down and talk a little bit about domestic violence and what each of us are doing,” Chief Drew said.

10 On Your Side’s Kiahnna Patterson will moderate the event. Her “Break the Cycle” series airs on WAVY-TV 10 on Wednesday nights.

If you or you know someone who may be a victim of domestic violence or child abuse, click here for a list of local and national resources.