Buncombe County is the safest place in the universe, with resilient communities free from domestic violence, sexual violence and child maltreatment. Go Back

The Experience

When we achieve this result:

  • There will be zero lives lost to domestic, sexual or child violence, and no re-offenders of those crimes.
  • Discussion of crimes will be focused on the perpetrator--why/how did the perpetrator commit the violence, NOT on the victim's age, situation, clothing, choices to stay/leave, etc.
  • More community service dollars will be devoted to prevention rather than treatment (Helpmate & Our Voice will provide prevention education, not crisis services)
  • Bystanders will actively redirect and/or report potential violence.
  • Social norms in Asheville move toward more use of conflict resolution skills, including court-based and peer-led conflict resolution.
  • We will overhear effective parenting everywhere--parents setting clear and firm boundaries, praising good behavior, etc.
  • Ample, quality childcare will be available, including short-term/drop-in care and second-shift care.
  • Schools at all grades will incorporate more social/emotional learning and expression, and everyone in the community will know concrete ways to manage their stress.
  • People will feel safe in their homes and communities and miss fewer days of work.
  • Buncombe residents will have healthy gender norms based on equality, and those healthier norms will be visible in local media as well.
  • People will be able to comfortably talk about sex (including non-hetero-normative) and everyone will have a strong understanding of consent.
  • People will understand that domestic and sexual violence is about POWER (vs. relationship).
Why Is This Important?

(From the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office website):

  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury and 7th leading cause of death for women in the United States.
  • It is the number one reason women and children become homeless in the U.S.
  • 1 in 4 women will report violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
  • 54% of employees living with domestic violence miss at least three full days of work per month.
  • A child's exposure to their father abusing their mother is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.
  • Domestic violence costs our community over $6.7 million each year.

Research shows that 65% of domestic violence homicide victims had contact with the criminal justice system or a health care professional before they were murdered, and 58% of perpetrators had been arrested before they killed their partners and 22% had seen a mental health professional... there are opportunities to intervene, and the coordinated community response will provide the tools. The success of this initiative can make the community safer for everyone.

Injury and Violence is a priority for Healthy NC 2020 because injury is the leading cause of death among people aged 1 to 49 years, and homicide in particular is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24 years.


(from Our VOICE website):

Of reported rapes in 2008 in North Carolina: State Bureau of Investigation. 2009. Rape Victims by Age and Race, 2008.

  • 21.5% of the victims of sexual assault were under age 14.
  • 61.7% were under the age of 30.
  • 64.6 % of victims were white.
  • 32.6% of victims were black.

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape). National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before age 18. www.pcar.org

One study estimates that more than 90% of people with developmental disabilities will experience sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Valenti-Hein, D., Shwartz, L. 1995. Sexual Abuse Interview for those with Developmental Disabilities.

Victims of sexual assault are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide
  • 6 times more likely to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol
  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs   

World Health Organization. 2002

In the US, rape is the most costly crime to its victims totaling $127 billion a year considering factors such as medical costs, lost earnings, pain, suffering and lost quality of life. www.nccasa.org.

Partners

Asheville Police Department: The City of Asheville Police Department is dedicated to providing public safety and maintaining order and enforcing the laws of NC, upholding the US Constitution and enhancing National Security. The City of Asheville is committed to supporting a safe city with safe neighborhoods. Guiding Principles: Integrity, Fairness, Respect & Professionalism.

Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office: The mission of the District Attorney's Office is to seek justice by ensuring that victims' rights and the public's safety are our number one priority through the fair, equal, vigorous and efficient enforcement of the criminal laws.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services: HHS is creating a streamlined group of services that address the health, safety, and well-being of residents in our community.

Family Justice Center: The Family Justice Center co-locates and integrates victim service providers to create a comprehensive, one-stop model to meet victim needs and increase safety.

Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department: The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office is a professional, service oriented law enforcement agency. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life of everyone in Buncombe County by utilizing the highest degree of integrity and professionalism at every level, making certain that we lead by example, treat all persons with dignity, and hold ourselves accountable to the highest possible standards.

Helpmate: Provides services for victims of domestic abuse including emergency shelter for women and children, 24-hour hotline, individual and group counseling, case management, court advocacy, and preventive education and training.

Mission Health: Mission Health is a not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina.

Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC): MAHEC is passionate about excellence in healthcare. For 42 years they have provided high quality, compassionate healthcare as a foundation for training top physicians and health professionals.

Our VOICE: Provides services for victims of rape and sexual assault. Direct services including 24-hour crisis line, case management, individual and group counseling, accompaniment to medical services, law enforcement interviews and court proceedings information and referrals. Additionally they provide prevention, education and outreach services.

Pisgah Legal Services: Pisgah Legal Services provides free civil legal aid in WNC to disadvantaged children, seniors, at-risk families & domestic violence victims.

SPARC Network and SPARC Foundation: Working to keep people out of institutional care.

Mountain Child Advocacy Center: Provides education, prevention, advocacy and intervention services for abused children in Buncombe County. Today, the Mountain Child Advocacy Center (MCAC) functions as the hub for services provided to children and families experiencing abuse and neglect.

United Way: United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is about local giving with local impact. Runs the NC 2-1-1 Asheville Call Center.

YWCA of Asheville: The YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen our community.

Data Holes
  • A measure/scale of COMMUNITY ATTITUDES TOWARD VIOLENCE (Our VOICE conducted a large survey using the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale in 2008 and a smaller survey in 2015, so there is a bit of baseline...)
  • ED admissions for child maltreatment
  • Prosecution/Conviction data for domestic violence, sexual assault and child maltreatment (These are more performance measures...)
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