Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services closes its doors

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An independent non-profit offering service to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in Chatham County has closed after months of financial difficulties. The website of the Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services is still up, but Chatham residents should no longer call the number on it.

Residents who need help with domestic violence should call the county’s new Chatham Family Violence Prevention Services office, which can be reached at 919-542-1792 or via email at cfvps@chathamnc.org.

The Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Coordinators offers services as well, and can be reached at 919-542-2811 or via email at lora.rinaldi@chathamsheriff.com or ordonna.griffith@chathamsheriff.com.

Chatham County also has a Child Victims Services Coordinator, who offers victim services and prevention programs.

“We remind residents who are in immediate danger to please call 911,” said Renita Foxx, director of Chatham County Court Services. “Also, if you need to access emergency mental health services for victims or abusers, call the Cardinal Innovations Crisis Line at 1-800-939-5911, which is staffed 24/7.”

The county is currently applying for Community Block Grant funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop a shelter for victims of domestic violence, LaMontagne said. Community members interested in the project can contact Chatham County policy analyst Stephanie Watkins-Cruz at stephaniew.cruz@chathamnc.org or call 919-545-8398.

Chatham County cut financial ties with FVRC last year after the county recognized gaps in the non-profit’s financial records. Chatham had a contract with FVRC to run the county’s only emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, but the non-profit unexpectedly closed the shelter in May 2016.

FVRC had incurred massive losses in the last two years, according to publicly available tax records. In 2015, the non-profit ran a deficit of $152,715 and in 2016 $46,049. The records also revealed a steady loss in grant money over the last several years from a high of $1,401,912 in 2014 to only half of that in 2016.

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