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Beloit domestic violence center, police adding services for better victim outcomes

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BELOIT (WKOW) -- A local domestic violence survivor says new services at a Beloit organization will help others like her get out of abuse.

This year, Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center has added a texting line for victims to reach out without having to make a call. Plus, the police department has adopted a new policy for response, to better identify the most at-risk victims when responding to calls for service.  

Last spring, Sue Meyer escaped her husband's abuse, overcoming his control over her finances, and reaching out to the center for help. 

"I thought, well let me get this bill paid, that bill paid, and finally it was Memorial Day when things really heated up and I said, 'no, I'm never going to put up with this again'," Meyer told 27 News.

When her husband hit her, knocking out her tooth, Meyer decided enough was enough and started the process to leave him. It wasn't the first time he hurt her. He's now facing charges over the incident. 

Meyer is one of 250 people who called the center for help last year, which was up dramatically from roughly 140 people in 2016. The center added several more beds to its shelter.

Program director Kelsey Hood-Christenson says because the need for services is growing, she hopes the new additions to the center will reach even more victims. 

"We try to make sure that our info is available at every corner, because you don't know when that person is going to change and say, 'I'm ready right now'," she said.

Meyer says she still works with the center's case manager to help her get through filing for divorce and planning for her life without abuse. She's hoping to finish her masters degree and open a cafe for battered women some day. 

"It's been a long road, but we've made it through," she said. "I think better days are ahead for 2018. [It] will certainly be a better year for me."

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call Beloit's Crisis Line at 1-866-SAFE-018, or (608) 365-1119. The new Text Line can be reached at (608) 473-1225.

In Dane County, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services is also available 24/7 at (608) 251-4445.

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