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Meck County launches new online tool for domestic violence victims

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Mecklenburg County launched a new online tool for domestic violence victims to find help.

Victims often do not want to face their accuser in court, but with e-filing, survivors won’t have to do that.

Audra Toussaint, a domestic violence survivor, didn’t get help because she didn’t want to see her abuser in the courtroom.

[LINK: Safe Alliance Victims Assistance Court Program]

"You feel so depleted that you just want to lay down, is what you want to do, and you have to find your way around Fourth and McDowell (streets) to find the next place you need to go to file paperwork to protect yourself," Toussaint said.

She said filing a protective order isn’t easy for the victim.

"I had to tell my story and very private details,” she said. “You’re embarrassed. You’re ashamed and then you have to tell your story to a courtroom of people you've never met."

She said it was a scary experience to see her abuser in court.

[LINK: WSOC-TV Domestic Violence State & National Resource Guide]

“It was a scary experience. I had been through a traumatic experience with my abuser. I was definitely rattled,” Toussaint said.

Her abuser moved out of her house, but the violence didn’t stop.

“He bugged my house,” she said. "He threatened to use the recordings. He stalked me. He has physically assaulted me."

She said it was a dark time for her.

Mecklenburg County is making the road to getting help a little easier.


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"E-filing is a process where we take the piece of a victim actually having to show up in court, we remove that factor for them," said Tenille Banner, a staff member at Safe Alliance.

Domestic violence survivors can stay in the Victim's Assistance Office and appear in court through a video monitor.

[9 Investigates: The cost of domestic violence]

"To be able to do that in a supportive environment of victims assistance is going to really be a game changer for victims of domestic violence in Mecklenburg," Toussaint said.

The program, which has been two years in the making, is safer and more efficient, Safe Alliance staff members said.

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