Woman portraying domestic violence victim asks for money in Colu - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

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Woman portraying domestic violence victim asks for money in Columbus

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October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, but one woman is abusing the title of domestic violence victim. She's been using the kindness of unsuspecting Columbus residents for more than a year.

Hope Harbour helps women around the valley when they have nowhere else to turn in a domestic violence situation. Executive director Diane Hett says one woman has been falsely claiming that they're helping her, but not enough.

At parking lots across town, good samaritans are doling out money to a woman who claims to be a domestic violence victim.

"She always has the story she's at Hope Harbour, and we had given her a credit card that had to be activated, and it was for several hundred dollars, and she needed to get some things," says Hett. "I think this is when she was at CVS, and she needed to get some things emergency, and wasn't able to do it because the credit card had not been activated yet, so the person gave her some money. Of course, we don't have credit cards that we give to our victims."

The woman is described as white, in her forties, driving an older white SUV. She tells people her daughters' names are Briana and Savannah, and she's only known to approach women.

Hett recalls, "One person actually said she had the children with her, which is even more disturbing that children are seeing this kind of action."

Hett says she's concerned the woman may have sought help at Hope Harbour before, as she tells people the shelter is full and they put her up in a hotel, which is a practice they employ, but Hett says the victims at Hope Harbour would not ask for handouts.

"When a woman and her children are here," she says, "we provide the things that she needs, whether it's gas for her car or clothing or food. They're all available here."

Hett is worried the woman will make people skeptical of the victims who actually need help, but she emphasizes that if someone approaches you for help, direct them to Hope Harbour. Just call 706-324-3850.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.

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