LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln’s largest shelter for domestic violence victims has seen an alarming trend in the past year as nearly two out of three callers seeking refuge have said they were choked or strangled.
Friendship Home Executive Director Amy Evans told the Lincoln Journal Star that the majority of the callers were women. Evans said the finding is particularly concerning because women who have been choked by their partner are over seven times more likely to be murdered, according to a 2008 study published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine.
“The batterer’s hands are lethal weapons,” Evans said. “They’re potentially as lethal as a gun or a knife.”
Staff members at Voices of Hope, a Lincoln crisis intervention organization, have also said they’re hearing from domestic violence victims with more severe physical injuries and documenting more hospitalizations.
The group’s executive director, Marcee Metzger, said it’s not a sign of escalating violence in the city, but rather a reflection of the organization’s growing impact and position of trust in the community.
Last year, the group served more than 1,700 people with domestic violence concerns, including a growing portion of the city’s immigrant population, according to Metzger. The organization offers services such as crisis counseling, help filing protection orders and financial literacy education.
Lincoln hasn’t had a death attributed to domestic violence this year, though in September, a Lincoln woman was shot in the head by her boyfriend and survived with disabling injuries.
Crimes of domestic violence are generally underreported, according to police. In the last five years, Lincoln police have arrested an average of 857 people in domestic violence cases and jailed 88 percent of those arrested individuals, according to the Family Violence Council.
The city’s response to domestic violence is strengthened by communication among police, the courts, probation officers and victim service groups, Metzger said.
“Our community coordinated response is continuing to work,” Metzger said.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com
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