NEWPORT NEWS (WAVY) – The Newport News Police Department takes a unique approach to dealing with domestic violence.
They have an experienced team of advocate specialists to help survivors overcome abuse.
Now there is a new resource within the NNPD domestic violence unit.
The team can investigate abuse allegations with its very own detective.
Detective Michelle Juneau is a new addition to the NNPD domestic violence unit, but is no stranger to the city.
She spent over a decade on the streets as a patrol officer. During her career, most of the 911 calls were domestic-related.
“Sometimes in the course of same shift, I responded to the same victims house, over and over and over again,” said Juneau. “It’s given me a good background as to how to handle it [domestic abuse] in the legal aspect but also how to show a sense of empathy towards the victims. Why they choose to stay? Why they go back even after court?”
She works alongside the department’s domestic violence advocates, Neisha Himes and Cheryl Chavers, specifically on abuse cases.
The unit is one of a kind in Hampton Roads. The position tailored to fit her street knowledge.
“Every day I come in and I review all of our reports. Every single report that goes across the city. I look for what I like to call, undertones of domestic violence. Things that I’ve learned through going on patrol, things that don’t scream domestic violence.”
After Juneau reviews a report with undertones of violence such as stalking, intimidation or property damage.
The advocates call the survivors of these crimes, to see if they need help before the abuse escalates.
“We are able to open Pandora’s box per se and understand a little more of what a survivor may be going through,” Chavers said. “Oftentimes when we are speaking with victims, they may share with us some additional information that may not have reported to police officers … by the time they get to law enforcement they have endured so much. So we have an opportunity to investigate those underlying issues and reach out in a proactive manner. ‘We say we understand that your cellphone was stolen or that your car was taken without your permission. We understand that there is probably a lot more that has taken place’.”
Up until this point, the domestic violence unit would reach out to victims of assault or respond to tips from the message line.
“In the past, [victims] may have to call police officers to come back out to their home again to speak about any instances that they may have had,” Chavers said. “We can marry the advocacy side with law enforcement, and it works extremely well. That is what we are doing here for the city.”
If a survivor decides to push for justice, that’s when Detective Juneau moves the investigation process faster.
“I work up an investigation. I present that to the Commonwealth’s Attorney. I obtain the charges and we go to court,” Juneau said.
The unit wants survivors to know that they do not have to live with abuse.
“We believe firmly that we can prevent domestic violence, the more we talk about it. Remove the silence, break the cycle that has been taking place,” Chavers said.
If you would like to learn more, please call the NNPD DV message line 757-928-4646.
Watch more stories from WAVY’s ‘Break the Cycle’ series here.
10 On Your Side has compiled a list of local and national resources for residents to fight and prevent domestic violence and child abuse.
In the United States, about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) including sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Domestic Violence Prevention Resources
10 On Your Side is committed to help Break The Cycle of domestic violence in Hampton Roads.
Here is a link to all of the local groups or agencies we have highlighted. The page also shares testimonials of survivors.
Here are some local and national resources for victims in need of help.
Transitions Family Violence Services in Hampton
- Phone: 757-722-2261
- Offers emergency shelter and crisis services
- 24- hour Crisis Hotline (757) 723-7774
YWCA South Hampton Roads in Norfolk
- Phone: 757-625-4248
- Offers counseling, youth and crisis services.
- 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757-251-0144
Avalon Center in Williamsburg
- Phone: 757-258-5022
- Offers transitional housing, emergency shelter, youth services, legal advice, and counseling.
- 24-hour Crisis Hotline: 757- 258-5051
Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach
- Phone: 757-631-0710
- Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
- 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120
HER Shelter in Portsmouth
- Phone: 757-485-1445
- Offers emergency services, court assistance, shelter, employment, housing assistance.
- Hotline: 757-485-3384
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233
Virginia Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-838-8238
About 11 million women and 5 million men who reported experiencing sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18.
At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year and in 2018 nearly 1,770 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States, according to the CDC.
Prevent Child Abuse America – Coronavirus Resources & Tips for Parents, Children & Others.
Child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. For more information on preventing child abuse and neglect check out resources from the CDC or call The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 for help.