Break the Cycle: Williamsburg center uses social media to help domestic violence victims


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — A domestic and sexual violence center in Williamsburg is using social media in a unique way to help local victims.
The Avalon Center serves the Williamsburg, James City County and the Middle Peninsula area.

The nonprofit organization provides a 24-hour help line (757-258-5051), emergency shelter, transitional housing, case management, life skills, adult counseling, and legal advice.

To spread the word on the services, organizers kicked off the #WeRespond social media campaign this month. It can be easily found on YouTube, Facebook or twitter.

The idea is to show women, men, or children struggling with abuse, they are not alone.

“We are here,” explained Juanita Graham, the Director Outreach Services. “All survivors are welcome and we try to do our best to try to help support them.”

Graham’s worked with the organization for 16 years. 

“We’re not going to say, ‘You have to leave’ or anything like that. We want to give you the information and meet you where you are. [Then] help you to make the changes that you want to make,” said Graham.

Leslie Jingluski, the Community Engagement Coordinator says she committed her life to helping survivors of domestic violence after helping her good friend escape.

“I really saw the escalation piece of it. I saw the gut reaction that maybe something is not right,” she explained. “Unfortunately, her situation escalated to the point where the courts had to get involved.  She was dragged 20 feet across asphalt in her parking lot.”

Jingluski says they are making progress but they still have a lot of work to do.

“I don’t know that we’ve noticed an increase [in reports of domestic violence],” she explained. “More people are aware and understanding that domestic violence isn’t always getting hit, that it doesn’t have a face. We’re doing better about what’s okay and what’s not.”

The James City County police department reports from October 1st, 2018 to October 7th, 2019: 171 adults were arrested for assault and battery against a family or household member. During that same time 1 murder was domestic related.

The Williamsburg Police Department reports from October 1, 2018 to October 7, 2019: 53 Domestic Assault Reports. Of those, 52 resulted in the offender being arrested or a warrant obtained. No murders were reported.

Upcoming Events:

Oct. 28: The ‘In Their Shoes’ event at Gloucester library on Main Street 

For Domestic Violence Awareness month, Kiahnna Patterson will join WAVY News 10 Today every Wednesday morning to start the conversation and share programs around Hampton Roads to help break the silence.

Here are some local and national resources for victims in need of help.

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

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