The Purple Door: When the call comes in

Published 8:00 am Saturday, March 10, 2018

Just for a moment or two, put yourselves in the shoes of one of our community law enforcement officers.

As an officer, when the radio call comes sending you out to a domestic disturbance, you automatically brace yourself. You know from your experience that this call has the potential to be the most dangerous call you will ever answer. 

You know because you’re going into something with so many moving parts and missing information that isn’t obtained until you arrive on the scene. 

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You have questions like:

• Are there weapons?

• Is the abuser still on the scene?

• Could I be walking into an ambush?

• Are there children present?

You know well that the nature of domestic abuse is about one person’s desire to control another and you will be taking away some of that control. You also know that the abuser has probably been used to getting his/her way through the violence he/she inflicts on their victims. The level of anger may drastically escalate when they realize they may be in trouble and their reaction is likely to cause them to lash out at you.     

Once the scene is secured and safe for the victims and yourself you begin to gather facts about what has occurred.  You realize that the victims may need assistance in several ways.  You tell them that there is help for them at Steps to HOPE. They may need a safe place to stay; they may need assistance with obtaining a protective order against the abuser; or health services.  Steps to HOPE is able to help them through this often frightening and seemingly hopeless time.

Because of the recent light shined on domestic abuse in our lives today, we must recognize the men and women who are often the first line of defense in these cases.  They take tremendous risks in intervening and some have died in the line of duty because instances of family violence escalation. Time after time, domestic violence perpetrators prove that anyone who can deliberately kill the people they love the most, can kill a police officer without blinking an eye.

Steps to HOPE serves our surrounding area within the reaches of western North Carolina and the upstate of South Carolina.  We frequently work with law enforcement to answer the call for help from the victims. 

If you know of someone in need of our help or if you have questions, please call our 24-hour Crisis Line at 828-894-2340. 

– Lee Lindsay, Executive Director Steps to HOPE