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The Daily Tar Heel

Compass Center shows support for victims of domestic violence

Cordelia Heaney is the new executive director of Compass Center for women and families.
Cordelia Heaney is the new executive director of Compass Center for women and families.

The center offers a 24-hour domestic violence hotline, emotional support and crisis counseling, safety planning, emergency shelter placement, court advocacy services, support groups with free childcare, career and financial counseling and other services.

Many of these services are free and offered in English and Spanish to individuals experiencing emotional, physical or sexual abuse in a personal relationship.

“The work that we do is really rewarding because our focus is on people making empowered choices,” said Cordelia Heaney, executive director for the center. “We don’t tell people what they should or have to do.”

The goals of all Compass Center programs are to prevent and end domestic violence as well as teach women to be self-sufficient.

North Carolina is ranked No. 19 out of all states for the highest rate of women murdered by men. Heaney said many cases of domestic violence go unreported, and the number used to create this ranking does not include murder-suicides or murders within same-gender couples.

Last year, the center served 1,168 domestic violence clients and delivered over 7,000 instances of service to people, Heaney said.

The Compass Center is the only crisis center for domestic violence in Orange County. It was named a 2013 United Way Agency of Excellence and also won the Nonprofit of the Year Award in 2015.

The center receives funding from various sources, including the United Way of the Greater Triangle; the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough; Orange County and the state of North Carolina. The center also depends on individual donations, program fees and events that raise money.

“My favorite part about working at the Compass Center is being able to help a wide array of people and to see the impact that having support and resources can have on people’s lives,” Susan Friedman, director of domestic violence crisis services said.

Throughout October, the Compass Center is hosting and collaborating on events at local businesses and churches.

One of the events this month is a performance of the band Below the Line at Local 506 on Friday.

“This event is a really fun way to engage with students,” Heaney said.

The communications director of the Compass Center has been fostering communication and involvement between the UNC student body and the center, specifically in the Panhellenic community, Heaney said.

The center has many short and long term volunteer opportunities for members of the community. The 24-hour domestic violence hotline relies heavily on volunteers.

Alexis Moore, a senior at UNC, has volunteered at the Compass Center for just over one year as an information and referral specialist intern.

“My favorite part is the gratification from a client when you know your efforts have paid off in a positive way,” Moore said. “It’s liberating and fulfilling.”


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