CHARLOTTE, N.C. — October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

National data shows, thousands are living with intimate partner domestic violence daily. 

What You Need To Know

  • 1 in 5 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner 

  • Organizations across the state are raising awareness about the data during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

  • A newly released report reveals how dire the domestic violence issue has been in Mecklenburg County 

  • A survivor says the report is vital with helping more in our community survive 

In many cases, the abuse can be deadly. 

According to the U.S. crime reports, nearly 1 in 5 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. 

Organizations statewide are raising awareness about this data all month long. 

In Mecklenburg County, the Community Support Services' and its partners justed released "The Status of Intimate Partner Domestic Violence in Mecklenburg County" report, reflective of 2018-2022. 

Some of the findings from the report include the following: 

  • At least 29 intimate partner violence homicides occurred in Mecklenburg County between January 2018 and December 2022
  • From January 2018 to June 2022, over 15,000 Domestic Violence Protection Orders were filed with the 26th Judicial District Court
  • Demand for supportive services related to intimate partner violence stayed consistently high

CSS states the report will raise awareness about how prevalent intimate partner domestic violence is in the county. It will further aid local policy makers, leaders, researchers and community partners with supporting those living with domestic violence. 

A survivor of intimate partner domestic violence agrees. 

Melody Gross was in an abusive relationship for nearly three years.

"My survivorship started as a child. I am a child witness to intimate partner violence," Gross said. "I did not think it would be me. But as I got older,  I met someone who initially I thought was a nice person, but they actually were abusive. It started very quietly, not being able to disagree with the person, name calling and escalated into emotional abuse. Physical abuse one year.

"One instance, I found myself on crutches, because I was thrown to the ground. I experienced financial abuse and that looked like me not paying a portion of the bills or disrupting me from going to work because of arguments or fights prior to [work]," she said.

Gross says it took some time, but she was able to find the courage to leave. 


"It was not easy," Gross said. "I was stalked. I was harassed. He would show up at my workplace, my family's home. So it was not easy to leave. I got the courage to leave, because I was able to tell someone. A lot of times we sit in silence, and we're isolated. Intimate partner violence is really about having power and control over someone."

"When you decide to leave, you're taking that power and control back. It takes a lot of courage to do that, it takes a lot of courage to say, 'enough.' It's important to have people around us who don't shame us and don't criticize us but instead listen to us and support us. I'm grateful I had that support," she said. 

Gross founded Courageous SHIFT. The group is made up of survivors of intimate partner domestic violence. 

"We talk about our experiences and how they intersect with certain areas of our community," Gross said. 

They're informing and educating companies on how domestic violence impacts the workplace. 

"I speak about how my experience as a survivor impacted the workplace," Gross said. "And how employers can support employees experiencing it and what to look for, and how it's beneficial to actually addressing intimate partner violence within the workplace. I saw the gap with how intimate partner violence was responded to. For instance, as much as my organization did really well in supporting me, there were still gaps."

"When I did the research, a lot of organizations did not have a plan for when, because it's not if, but when intimate partner violence impacts the workplace. I saw that gap and said what can I offer?" she said.

Gross says her paternal grandmother and mother inspired the name of her business. 

"Those are really powerful women for me," Gross said. "My mother is a survivor as well. My grandmother was a survivor. They give me the courage. This is one of the reasons I named my company Courageous SHIFT, because they were so courageous, regardless of what they were experiencing. They endured a lot, but they still came out so much stronger."

"So I really want to honor them every day because the work that I do is directly related to what we all have experienced and how we all survived too," she said.

Gross says the new intimate partner domestic violence report is vital with helping more in our community survive. 

"One of the things I noticed is there were 29 intimate partner violence homicides during [2018-2022]," Gross said. "I thought to myself, I definitely thought it would've been more, because we see so many women in particular who are being murdered by partners or ex-partners. So I was a little surprised by that. This report is vital for those who are service providers to know what are the gaps, what are the needs, what are the resources that are missing." 


Gross says when she was going through the abusive relationship, she's wasn't aware about some of the resources out there to help.

"I didn't realize I could receive a court advocate, someone who would help me through the process," Gross said. "One of the things I'm really proud of that Mecklenburg County is doing is creating the Family Justice Center. That's a one-stop shop, where someone who's experiencing intimate partner violence, child abuse, elder abuse, sexual trafficking, they can go to one place and [not have to] tell their story a bunch of times to a bunch of people."

"I think that's really important. [Also], you can absolutely call the Greater Charlotte Hope Line. And sometimes, people inbox me on social media, and I'm here for that," she said.

Although there is progress being made to support those experiencing domestic violence, Gross says culturally responsive resources are still lacking. 

"Ones that realize that as a Black woman, I'm going to experience intimate partner violence very different then as a white woman or as a Latinx woman or as a LGBTQIA+ person," Gross said. "I think it's important we truly create resources and programs that are culturally diverse and inclusive, survivor-centered and trauma informed and engaged as well."

Gross says the Intimate Partner Domestic Violence in Mecklenburg County report could help to ensure those experiencing intimate partner violence get the help they need year-round. 

"Not just a final project, but as something that is a guiding light to how can we close the gaps in resources," Gross said. "This report only tells those who've actually shared their experience. So how do we reach those who haven't. How do we connect with them so they know it's safe to tell their story and get the help they need." 

Gross says Courageous SHIFT will be launching future initiatives to directly support survivors of intimate partner violence. 

"You are not alone," Gross said.