Abuse advocates reach out after domestic violence homicide - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Abuse advocates reach out after domestic violence homicide


MADISON (WKOW)-- Domestic violence advocates are reaching out to abuse victims who may be too afraid to come forward after the recent death of 31-year-old Jennifer Boyce. They say this case has a lot of similarities with others they've seen in the past.

"When there has been a high profile domestic violence homicide we tend to see a drop in the number of callers to our crisis line immediately after a high profile case like this," Shannon Barry explains.

Barry, who currently serves as the Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, says cases like this are often used as weapons by abusers. Striking fear in their victims in an attempt to control them.

"They say things like look, this could happen to you," says Barry.

That's why she and other advocates are reaching out to thousands of victims in desperate need of help. The most crucial time being the moment when the victim attempts to leave their attacker. A time where domestic abuse homicide is six times more likely than at any other stage of the relationship.

"It's critical that victims who are in that situation and are in the process of leaving an abuser are able to access services," says Tony Gibart of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

They're services ranging from simple advice all the way to providing shelter. In 2011, over 500 victims in Dane County were given shelter from their attackers. Thousands more were helped in other ways, but advocates say that's only a fraction of the actual cases that go unreported.

"The important thing is for us to at these opportunities to really emphasize unfortunately how common domestic violence homicides are in our communities," Gibart says.

Friday morning Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) released a statement regarding Jennifer Boyce's death. The title being, Domestic Violence Knows no Boundaries. It's message is that anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, or social economic status can fall victim to domestic abuse.

Help is only a quick phone call away. To reach the hotline at DAIS the number is 608-251-4445. There's also a national hotline you can call at 1-800-799-7233.

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