Area officers raising awareness about domestic abuse - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Area officers raising awareness about domestic abuse

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Barron (WQOW)- One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and one in thirteen men. These statistics are even more sobering when we consider that domestic violence often goes unreported.

"It's awful difficult in a domestic situation to report a crime against someone that you love," says Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, Barron County Sheriff's Department.

This October area law enforcement hope to start an important conversation. It is domestic violence awareness month.

Studies have shown many victims stay in the shadows, over 50 percent never seek help.

"That's the hardest thing to do sometimes, report it to law enforcement but our officers that come to your house are there to help you there not to just make an arrest and go about our way. We want to make sure that you get the services that you need and you feel safe in your home," says Sheriff Fitzgerald.

In 2011, Barron County domestic abuse victim advocates handled close to 370 cases of domestic violence.

"That's over one a day in Barron County alone, that's too many, one is too many," says Sheriff Fitzgerald.

According to Sheriff Fitzgerald there have been more serious cases of domestic violence in recent years.

"We had an attempted homicide case this year in Barron County that our department handled and that stemmed from a domestic abuse incident," says Sheriff Fitzgerald.

"On average it takes a victim about eight times of attempting to leave before they finally can leave," says Kristy Moran, Baron County domestic abuse advocate.

Some never leave.  In the U.S. three women die each day as a result of domestic abuse. Often times children are the silent victims.

"The children are hearing this, they're seeing this, they're witnessing it. Be it if it's physical, emotional, verbal abuse, these little eyes are watching mom and dad and how to interact in a relationship and common theme is that children who are living this life style, females it shows that little girls who see mom being abused grow up and are more likely to be victims as adults. Little boys who are witnessing dads be the abuser are more likely to grow up and be abusers themselves," says Moran. "We need to stop domestic abuse and get the word out there that it's never ok be it verbal, physical, emotional abuse. Abuse is abuse and it absolutely needs to stop."

Studies show economic stressors can have an effect on the number of domestic violence cases. In Wisconsin 40 people died last year because of domestic abuse.

If you or someone you know needs help there is a free, 24-hour hotline you can call, 1-800-799-7233. 

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