- Charlotte County
- Local News
- Lunenburg County
- Other News
- Police & Fire
- Prince Edward County
- The Word
- Top Story
By Crystal Vandegrift, Staff Writer
FARMVILLE – Last week the Farmville Town Council unanimously approved a conditional use permit that will allow the Southside Center for Violence Prevention to open a domestic violence shelter known as Madeline’s House at 1412 Longwood Ave.
Madeline’s House is a non-profit organization, providing comprehensive services for individuals and families experiencing domestic and sexual abuse.
According to Madeline’s House website, “Public awareness is the key to changing long-term attitudes about domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA). Finding a safe haven from this abuse is an immediate and life-saving concern.” Madeline’s House has been established in response to the cry of DV and SA victims’ immediate need for help and safety.
In January, Council approved rezoning the property from Residential R-1 to Business B-3 and zoning amendments which allow domestic violence shelters in B-3 zones with a conditional use permit.
The permit was approved with the following conditions:
• Madeline’s House will hold solely to its mission of providing temporary housing to victims of domestic violence.
• Madeline’s House will maintain accreditation through the state-endorsed Virginia Sexual Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the accrediting agency for all domestic violence shelters in Virginia.
• There will be up to nine bedrooms and the number of individuals housed (including children of victims) will not exceed 25 people at any given time.
• Madeline’s House will only accommodate adult female residents (including mothers and their dependent children).
• 24-hour security via integrated security system with multiple monitors, linked directly to police and emergency services as well as staff presence and on-call staff rotations.
• Minimum of 12-hour on-site supervision by staff or trained volunteers (7 a.m. – 9 p.m.) with 24/7 /365 supervision via on-call rotation by staff.
• Admission will occur only during normal business hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except in cases of life-or-death situations, referred mostly by police, emergency personnel, and associated professionals.
• Shelter will be provided at alternate location/s in cases that could pose danger to neighbors, other residents and/or staff.
• Exterior lighting will be appropriate and noninvasive to the residential area.
• All parking will be off-street.
•There will be a 6’ white vinyl fence which will be aesthetically pleasing and nondescript around almost the entire perimeter of the shelter except for the front of the building which will serve as the administration section.
• There will be no identifying signage.
Domestic Violence is a crime. It happens in many ways: coercion, emotional abuse, isolation, withholding money, sexual abuse, and so on. The abuser can be a family member, spouse, domestic partner, or a live-in-partner who wants to control the victim. Domestic violence can happen to anyone! One in three women report being a victim of domestic violence at some point in their lifetime.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if someone is in an abusive relationship. It can even be difficult for a victim to realize she or he is in an abusive relationship. Those who are abused, and those who abuse others, come in all personality types from all different backgrounds. Most people experiencing violence from someone close to them do not tell others about it. So how do you know?
Here are some signs to look for:
• Verbal Abuse: name calling, constant criticisms or humiliation.
• Bruises and Injuries: she can’t explain or makes weak excuses for them.
• Controlling Behavior: abuser constantly asks about activities, calls her at work all day, checks car mileage, and listens in on her phone calls, manages all the finances and monitors her spending.
• Extremely Jealous and Possessive: he accuses her of flirting or having affairs.
• She is fearful or quiet when he is around.
• Behavior of the Children: worsens, get into trouble at school, quiet and withdrawn and don’t get along with others.
If someone you know is planning to leave an abusive relationship or to take any legal or financial steps to separate, you must plan carefully and comprehensively for safety.
If there is immediate danger, call 911 or arrange a signal with a neighbor or a friend to call 911.
Hide money, spare keys, and a small bag of clothes for you and your children at work or at a friend’s house. Include a favorite toy for each child.
Gather or copy important documents (passports, birth certificates, social security cards, insurance papers, work permits or green cards, car titles, deeds, leases, checkbooks and account numbers). Hide these papers at work or at a friend’s house. Know the abuser’s social security number, birth date and place of birth.
Document the abuse by taking photos of injuries, get copies of your medical records, threatening voicemails or e-mails and keep in a journal. This will be helpful if you decide to take legal action in the future.
Obtain a protective order. It prohibits the abuser from contacting, attacking, sexually assaulting or calling you, your children and other family members. Carry a copy with you at all times.
Inform your employer about your situation and set up a safety plan at work. Share a photo and description of the abuser and any legal documentation, such as a protective order.