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Domestic Violence Victims Filling New Gulf Coast Shelter

By Rhonda Miller | Published 17 Oct 2011 07:05pm | comments

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports how a new Jackson County shelter for women and their children is filling up fast during these troubled times.

It’s the second shelter operated by the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence and has only been open for two weeks. But Shelter Director Stacey Myers says there’s an urgent need for the 16 beds.

"We had 11 people in last week," Myers said. "Talking to the hospital officials, talking to law enforcement, they’re seeing a tremendous amount of cases in this area. So we knew that we would fill up quickly, because we’re having police officers in our area that are going on easily  three or four calls a night."

The Mississippi Department of Health reports a slight decline in people seeking help from shelters over the past four years.

 But at the Gulf Coast Women’s Center shelter in Harrison County, social worker Rachel Lapointe says she doesn’t see a downward trend in domestic violence.

"From what we see every day, I would say that we are set to serve at least the same amount of clients as we did in 2010," Lapointe said. "It’s hard to say if there’s an increase or a decrease because it is a very under-reported crime. But we are seeing larger numbers as far as people attending group counseling."

She says Mississippi is usually near the top of the national list for domestic violence murders. 

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