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Read our latest newsletter: February 2017.

What's Happening

"Educating our communities and elected officials about the needs of survivors in our local cities and towns requires year round focus. JDI is our pathway to informing and influencing the state and national agenda to end sexual and domestic violence." ~ Karen Cavanaugh, Executive Director of Womanshelter/Companeras. PICTURE: Staff from The Center for Hope & Healing with Attorney General Maura Healey at JDI Advocacy Day.

West Springfield Homicide Case Highlights Spectrum of Domestic Violence Homicide

Jane Doe Inc., Toni Troop, TTroop@janedoe.org, 617-212-7571
Safe Passage, Marianne Winters, marianne@safepass.org, 413-586-1125
YWCA of Western Massachusetts, Jodi Smith, jsmith@ywworks.org, 413-755-3125

West Springfield Homicide Case Highlights Need for
Community Wide Education and Response to Violence

The homicide of Jennifer Best in West Springfield, Massachusetts on Saturday, November 28, 2015, allegedly by Christen Longley has gotten the attention of domestic violence advocates across Massachusetts.  While details are still vague about the motive, the news that Longley had dated Best’s current boyfriend potentially places this murder along the spectrum of domestic violence homicides.  In Jane Doe Inc.’s recently published “Not One More” report of domestic violence homicides in Massachusetts between 2003 and 2012, 5.5% of the people killed (14 of 256 homicide victims) were the new partner.

Toni Troop, Director of Communications and Development at Jane Doe Inc., explains the need to broaden our thinking of who is at risk of homicide in the context of domestic violence, “Advocates stress the importance of looking at the fullest picture possible in terms of a history of violence, extreme jealousy, threats to kill and any indication that it was connected either directly or indirectly to an intimate partner relationship.”

Marianne Winters, Executive Director of Safe Passage that provides domestic violence services in Hampshire County, states, “We are heartbroken and saddened at this news and encourage anyone who sees signs of potential violence in their own relationships or others to reach out. Prevention is possible if we build communities that are knowledgeable about the warning signs and willing and able to speak up for a friend or neighbor.”

Jodi Smith, Deputy Director of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts that provides domestic violence services in Hampden County, adds, “As with any homicide and act of violence, we must ask ourselves what could have been done to prevent it. In the case of domestic violence, we know that one of the most protective factors against homicide is a victim’s connection to a trained domestic violence advocate who can help them sort through their options and put together a safety plan. What can we learn from this experience to extend safety to others?”

Advocates want the public to know that trained advocates are ready to listen 24/7, and all calls are confidential and can be made anonymously.

For information, services and help for yourself or someone you care about:

Ø  For local free and confidential services, contact:

o   Safe Passage:  888-345-5282

o   YWCA of Western Massachusetts (413) 733-7100/800-796-8711

Ø  To learn more about domestic violence and sexual assault and find the program in Massachusetts nearest you, visit www.JaneDoe.org/find_help/search.

Ø  SafeLink: 1-877-785-2020 is a 24-hour, free and confidential multi-lingual domestic violence hotline in Massachusetts and can connect callers to their local domestic violence program.

Ø  To find the domestic violence program nearest you outside of Massachusetts, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233).


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