Shelter is model for the nation

April 24, 2009 3:22:00 PM PDT
A new refuge for domestic violence victims is now open in Raleigh.State leaders say the new Interact is a model for the nation.

"This is a wonderful, wonderful facility - wonderful, wonderful program because you're giving an umbrella of services," offered Lt. Governor Walter Dalton (D) NC.

The services offered at the new shelter were not available seven years ago when Debi Holt came looking for help.

Friday, Holt helped cut a ribbon 7 years after she decided to finally cut an abusive boyfriend out of her life.

"And that's when all hell broke loose," she recalled. "I was punched in the face so severely that my nose was cracked, my eyes were blackened and both contacts literally flew out of my eyes."

The next day at work, Holt's boss asked to her take off her sunglasses, then insisted she get help. Interact changed her life - maybe saved it. But at the old facility, they had to send her out to see a doctor or to get other help.

The new building has a health clinic for women and children, counselors, even the Raleigh Police Department's domestic violence unit is right on site.

"Not only has the facility in itself provided all these agencies under one roof, but then the house itself is also enlarged. We've gone from an 18 bed house to a 45 bed house," said Holt.

And Holt, who now manages the safe house, says its best feature is a state-of-the-art security system. Should a batterer show up at the safe house, he'll be spotted before he even sets foot on the grounds. Three layers of security ensure he never gets near his victim or victims.

Now women, like Holt can finally feel safe leaving the abuse behind.


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