For 15 years, Michelle Anderson lived in a violent relationship. Like many other victims, she never reached out for help.
"I never spoke with a counselor. I spoke with family members, spoke with friends, but never a counselor," Anderson said.
The danger of keeping that secret became all too real several years later, when Anderson's sister was killed by her own estranged husband.
"She just believed that stuff that happened in the home stayed in the home," Anderson said.
That is why Kelly Coyne and United Family Services went after a grant that will train counselors from that agency, and police, on a Maryland-based program called Lethality Assessment.
The program puts domestic violence victims in touch with counselors right away.
"We know that just getting them in touch with services saves lives," Coyne said.
It starts with officers asking victims several critical questions from an assessment form -- questions like, "Has he/she ever used a weapon against you," and "Has he/she threatened to kill you or your children?"
If the answer is yes, Charlotte police Detective Mike Davis said officers will get a counselor on the line right there.
"There's no delay. The victim can be immediately put in touch with somebody and officers can assure that they are being taken care of on the phone right then and there," he said.
The program is one reason domestic homicides in Maryland have dropped by 40 percent.
Supporters hope it will do the same here in Charlotte.
"When they reviewed all of the domestic violence deaths, they found that only about four percent of those killed reached out for services," Coyne said.