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Dawson County visitation center provides safe place for abuse victims
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A supervised visitation center planned for Dawson County aims to address domestic and dating violence that can occur during child custody exchanges.

The project began in October when the Office on Violence Against Women awarded The Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in Atlanta.

The council asked three area nonprofits to become involved, including No One Alone, which has been providing safe haven to local family violence victims for 20 years.

The grant will pay for the creation of a supervised visitation and exchange program in Dawsonville, court protocols and procedures and a coordinated community response to violence against women and children in custody cases or proceedings.

It awards $400,000 over the course of three years, which began in November.

“There are not many projects in Georgia that provide supervised visitation for domestic violence cases, but there is a great need,” said Marina Barron, executive director of No One Alone. “There are a lot of victims that as they try to leave a bad situation they are unfortunately abused again when they exchange the children. Studies have shown that two years after the separating there is a higher incidence of homicide, sometimes in front of the children.”

The other nonprofits working with the council and NOA are the SAFFT Visitation Center and Forsyth County Family Haven, both in Cumming.

The Consulting Committee for Dawson County, including representatives from the three nonprofits, as well as Dawson County officials, will determine possible locations and plan the facilities’ policies and procedures.

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