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Domestic violence advocates work to make custody exchanges safer

When news broke of the shooting in Hazard that killed three people the workers at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program took notice.

"It still always comes as a great shock and a bit of horror and we have to regroup and see what happened," said Diane Fleet, the program's Assistant Director.

Police say the shooting happened during a custody exchange between the suspected shooter and the mother of his son.

"Those to me are always high risk times, custody transfer. Whenever I see a divorce those kinds of things are pieces to me that indicate there might be some high risk," Fleet said.

It was the high risk associated with custody exchanges that led to the creation of Sunflower Kids. It's a program that provides a secure location for parents to meet. Fleet says it's been so successful at least two surrounding communities are working to develop similar locations.

"We were seeing that McDonald's was not the appropriate place to do an exchange," she said.

Fleet says they look at each of these cases carefully, to see if this tragedy can be used as an opportunity for growth.

"Our VINE, victim information notification system came out because of a tragedy, so, I hate to say good things can come from these things, but we learn from these things," Fleet said.

She encourages anyone currently dealing with domestic violence to call the program at 1-800-544-2022.


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