At the crime scene a Somerville Police Officer passes his phone to a frightened woman. He has just completed a domestic violence Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) screen and the victim flags as “high-danger”. After expressing great concern for her safety she agrees to talk to a Fayette Cares representative.
“I can hear the desperation in her voice,” says Fayette Cares volunteer Shelley Gandy, “that feeling of not being safe is the worst feeling ever.”
Shelley was the first to answer a LAP call when the program was launched. Nervous but excited, she helped the victim plan for safety, connected her to services, and gave her hope for better days. She closes the call by coordinating efforts with the officer assuring the victim is well cared for. “It was more rewarding than I could have imagined!”
Like many on-call volunteers, she is a survivor of domestic violence who can relate to these difficult situations on a personal level.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner abuse.
“It was more rewarding than I could have imagined!”
Shelley thinks on her past with an abusive partner and recalls times when she confided in friends and family. “Somehow it would get back to him and make things worse.” The abuser would maintain control by restricting money, immobilizing the car, and turning off her cell phone. The isolation made it easier for him to physically, emotionally, financially, and sexually abuse her.
In a stroke of luck, a financial windfall allowed her to escape; however, he managed to find her and kept her living in fear for years after.
As a Fayette Cares volunteer she feels fortunate to connect victims to confidential programs where victims and survivors find emergency shelter and transitional housing, confidentiality services, legal aid, support groups, financial literacy classes, and more.
Her goal is to help Fayette Cares educate the entire community on ways to intervene and even prevent abuse before it begins, so that no family has to suffer in silence.
Join Shelley and others dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence by supporting the work of Fayette Cares. Make your gift at FayetteCares.org/Donate.
Contact us to learn about easy monthly giving options.