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Domestic Violence Task Force hires boss

The Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force has a new director.

Valerie Fletcher-Johnson started the position last Friday and has spent the past week getting acclimated.

“It’s a new position for me,” said Fletcher-Johnson, who is taking online courses to complete her master’s degree in Human Services. “But this is always something I have been interested in. I have always felt compassionate to this population and when this opportunity presented itself, I applied.”

The mother of three has worked at a number of institutions like the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville as a corrections program specialist, a SPECTRA coordinator and case manager at the Family Guidance Center and as a substance abuse therapist at the Huntington Substance Abuse Unit.

“I have a wide variety in my background,” she said.

She said she loves the job and the program offers something that is very much needed.

“I have a lot of plans for the shelter and am looking for grant money to get other programs started here,” she said. “I would love to be able to provide individual and group counseling for the ladies so they wouldn’t have to go out to other agencies.”

Fletcher-Johnson said she would also like to offer classes on getting a job and help them empower themselves to break the cycle of abuse.

“Just to help them with life skill issues and make the victims stand on their own,” she said. She said one of her goals is to raise public awareness about the

task force.

“There are so many people in the county who don’t know the shelter exists,” she said. “And we are in the process of exploring new ideas and searching for grants that would keep the shelter running at full staff so we can give our clients what they need.”

The shelter runs on grants and donations, which means there are weeks when they don’t know if they can pay staff salaries.

October is domestic violence awareness month and the shelter will be doing fundraising events, including a bake sale.

Anyone who needs to get in contact with the Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force can call 1-888-372-7433.