Domestic violence cases in Sandhills surge amid COVID-19 pandemic

HOKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Since the start of the pandemic, experts at the Hoke County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center have seen a surge in cases since the start of the pandemic. For many of their clients, it could be a matter of life or death.

"I have been choked until I passed out. I woke up with him shaking me to wake me up. This was done in front of my children," said domestic violence survivor Joyce Moore. "The kids are secondary victims. When he would start fighting, they would try to protect me. It was dangerous for the kids and myself."

Moore has been a domestic violence survivor for 25 years. Her offender was her husband and the father of her four children. Those memories haunt her many years later.

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Moore works as an advocate for the Hoke County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center alongside director Sonya Morrison. Both women have seen a sharp increase in clients looking for a way out.

"We're getting the phone calls of 'Ma'am I need to go home. I need to go to a shelter. Me and my children need to get out of this situation. I just need help,'" said Sonya Morrison, the director of the center.

Fayetteville police reported a total of 2,036 domestic related calls in 2019 between Jan. 1 and Oct. 19. In the same time frame in 2020, officers responded to 2,090 calls.

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As for domestic violence victims desperate to escape, Moore assures victims there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"I am living proof you can survive, but you've got to leave," said Moore.

Resources: National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or the Hoke County Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center at (910) 878-0118.
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