Crews break ground on east Charlotte center to help domestic violence survivors

CHARLOTTE — A big step towards expanding resources for survivors in our community took place Wednesday morning.

Crews broke ground on the Umbrella Center in east Charlotte. The building will house 250 service providers to help people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and human trafficking. People will be able to go there for services like medical care, therapy, and interviews with detectives.

When someone reports abuse, they have to drive all over town for legal representation, medical care and therapy. The future Umbrella Center will put all of those resources and more under one roof.

Audra Toussaint credits her support system for helping her get through the last 10 years as a domestic violence survivor. But she said finding resources was challenging.

“I first called the police and I started my journey, I didn’t know what I needed,” she said. “I got a pamphlet with 62 phone numbers in it. I never called one of them because I wasn’t sure what I really needed.”

Safe Alliance president Laura Lawrence acknowledged Wednesday that Charlotte is one of the largest cities in the U.S. without a family justice center.

“We also knew it had to be easier, and we had to change the trajectory for our victims,” she said.

“Knowing they can get that in one place without having to make 10 different phone calls or visit 20 different locations they can have their services met. It’s extremely significant,” said Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather.

Toussaint signed up to serve on the board of directors and called the center a game changer.

“This Umbrella Center is going to change the face of what it looks like to be a victim and it’s going to turn more of us into survivors,” Toussaint said.

The Umbrella Center is set to open in late 2025. It will serve more than 10,000 people a year.

VIDEO: ‘Serious red flag’: Mother of 21-year-old found dead says he was victim of domestic violence

Comments on this article