In wake of murder-suicide in Hopkinton, Advocates against sexual and domestic violence urge people to reach out for help
April 09, 2012
Mary Gianakis, Program Director of Voices Against Violence, said, “The news of a murder-suicide is more than heart-breaking: it’s also a wake up call that we all must do more to help prevent these deaths. Combating domestic violence is a community issue and everyone has a role to play.”
Studies have shown that being connected to a trained domestic violence advocate is a strong protective factor against domestic violence homicide. Research has also shown that bystanders can be a powerful force for domestic violence prevention. Concerned family, friends, and colleagues should not intervene themselves, but should reach out to their local domestic violence service providers for guidance about how to encourage a victim – and a perpetrator – to seek the services which can save lives.
Voices Against Violence is one of more than a dozen programs leading the efforts to create Domestic Violence High Risk Teams in local communities. The premise of these teams is that through collaboration across disciplines and using risk assessment tools, the cases with the greatest likelihood of re-assault and/or lethal attack can be identified. This pre-emptive approach creates an opportunity to put in place individualized intervention plans to interrupt the cycle of escalating violence and minimize the risk of further abuse.
Mary R. Lauby, Jane Doe Inc., underscored the important role that local domestic violence programs play. She stated, “Trained domestic violence advocates listen, discuss options, provide information, and serve as a sounding board. They can also provide safety planning, counseling, advocacy, a support group, or connect you with a shelter. We urge anyone who thinks that they or a friend or family member is in danger to reach out to a domestic violence program for free and confidential support.”
There is help and support available, locally, statewide and nationally, both for victims of domestic violence and for those wondering how to help them be safe. To contact the Voices Against Violence domestic violence staff, call 1-800-593-1125 or SafeLink, the statewide hotline, at 1-877-785-2020. For more information, go to the Jane Doe Inc. website at www.JaneDoe.org.