The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service is releasing statistics in relation to domestic violence calls.
Between January 1st, 2015 and May 31st, 2015 the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service investigated 563 domestic violence related calls. 127 investigations were cleared by criminal charge.
During the same period in 2016 officers have investigated 640 calls. 131 investigations have been cleared by criminal charges. This 13.68% increase in calls for service is concerning.
Domestic violence is a very real problem in our community and it crosses all neighbourhoods, age groups, ethnicities, religions and economic statuses.
80% of domestic violence victims tell family or friends about their situation, yet only 30% report the abuse to the police.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used by one person to gain power and control over another person with whom he/she has or has had an intimate relationship.
The behaviour may include physical violence, sexual, emotional, and psychological intimidation, verbal abuse, stalking and using electronic devices to harass and control.
Who is Affected by Domestic Violence?
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, whatever their age, race economic status, religion, sexual orientation or education.
While men can be victims of domestic violence, women represent the overwhelming majority of victims of such violence. It is consistently identified as one of the more common forms of violence again women in Canada. It robs the victim of their health, their dignity, their self-esteem and the confidence to realize their full potential.
Most abuse occurs in intimate heterosexual relationships; however, it can occur in gay and lesbian relationships as well.
The Warning Signs
If you concerned about someone you think is being abused, here are some things to look for:
-are they apologetic and make excuses for their partners behavior
-are they nervous talking when their partner is present
-does their partner want to know where they are and what they are doing even while at work
-does their partner try to isolate them from family and friends
-does the partner act as if they own them
How to Help
-talk to the victim about what you see and express your concerns
-encourage them not to confront their partner if they are planning on leaving. Her safety must be protected
-offer a safe haven if you are able to and don’t allow the partner in
-encourage the packing of a small bag of important papers and items they may need and store it at your place for when they leave
-encourage the victim to contact and speak to someone at Women in Crisis at 705-759-1230 or 1-877-759-1230 or the local shelter in your area. Calls can also be made to the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511 or TTY at 1-866-863-7868
-encourage the victim to call the police, especially in an emergency
By encouraging the victim to contact your local shelter, they have the chance to speak to counsellors. Even if they are not ready to leave the relationship they will be provided with information on how they can protect themselves and also work on a safety plan so that when they are ready to leave they will have some safety options.