NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – This October, for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Newport News Police Department is working to fight against what is often referred to as the silent killer.

NNPD assembled a Domestic Violence unit, which as a full-time advocate specialists.

Throughout the month, the department will be shining a light on this dark subject in hopes of starting dialogue.

They kicked off a series of events last week at the Aqueduct Apartment complex. According to NNPD, 44% of crime reported at Aqueduct is domestic-related. Domestic Violence Specialist Cheryl Chavers held a workshop for residents and staff explaining why it’s so difficult for victims of domestic violence to leave the relationship. She also provided steps the community can take to support victims and help them get to safety.

““Law enforcement, they are considered 1st responders, but I do believe when it comes to the fight against domestic violence. The community are truly 1st responders because if someone is going through domestic violence, they are going to tell their friends, they are going to tell their faith-based leader, they are going to tell their employer and by the time it gets to law enforcement it is almost at the end of the spectrum; things are at its greatest risk. So, we really need the community as 1st responders in the fight against domestic violence to be aware and understand the dynamics of domestic violence,” Chavers told 10 On Your Side.

Signs of Domestic Abuse

  • Calls you hurtful names
  • Physically hurts you or has hurt you in the past
  • Tries to isolate you from your family and friends
  • Is frequently jealous
  • Demands to know your whereabouts
  • Intimidates, threatens or frightens you
  • Blames you for everything
  • Forces you to do things that you don’t want to do
  • Monitors your social media
  • Doesn’t let you access finances
  • Harms or threatens to harm children or pets

Help survivors escape their abusers

  • Foster connections in your community to increase support for families experiencing domestic violence.
  • Contact policymakers about the importance of funding for services for people affected by domestic violence.
  • Advocate for safe and affordable housing.

NNPD is holding a donation drive for survivors of domestic violence. It begins Oct. 1 and continues until the end of the month.

All donations will be given to Transitions Family Violence Services. For a complete list of needed items and dropoff locations, click here.

10 On Your Side will be featuring a series of reports during the month of October under the heading “Break the Cycle.” The first report will highlight the NNPD DV unit. Look for this important coverage on WAVY News 10 on-air and online.

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.