Story by: Sabrina Shutters
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Family Justice Center of Horry County is fundraising to build a new domestic violence shelter, after the only one in Horry County closed.
“Everybody that I go and talk to is shocked that there isn’t safe house here in Horry County,” said Family Justice Center Executive Director Kim Parsons. “So, there are a lot of concerned community partners, there are a lot of people living in the community that really want to see this happen.”
It would be a $1 million project to find land and build an 18 to 20 bed facility.
Right now, the Family Justice Center is fundraising for it and has raised $100,000.
Until then, Parsons says just because they don’t have beds at their Horry County office, doesn’t mean they can’t help someone in a domestic violence situation.
“We’ve put people on airplanes to Colorado, we’ve flown their dogs, we’ve paid for their luggage, we’ve put people on buses, so we will help you get to where you need to be and you know, if we can’t have you at the shelter because it’s full, then we’ll help pay for a hotel,” she said.
Parsons says they see over one thousand victims every year, and expect to see the same amount this year.
Myrtle Beach Domestic Violence Police Officer Michele Paitsel says the new shelter would help the police department tremendously because it would be in Horry County.
“A lot of our victims don’t want to move or transfer over to Georgetown, therefore it’s hard on them, it’s hard on the children because they don’t want to take the children out of school,” said Paitsel.
The Horry County shelter may not open for another couple of years.
Right now, the Family Justice Center in Georgetown has nine open beds at their shelter.
Officer Paitsel says the police department’s addition of a new social media specialist has helped domestic violence awareness.
“A lot of people are coming forward, they’re starting to call 911 a lot more, they’re starting to call the Police Department, and if they see something, they say something,” she said.
During the month of October, and until they are sold out, Myrtle Beach Police Department is selling domestic violence awareness t-shirts for $20 each. Officer Paitsel says she has all sizes available. If you are interested in one, the proceeds go to the Family Justice Center for domestic violence. Call 843-918-1821 to get a t-shirt.