A recent review of domestic violence homicides showed 21 reported cases in Maine between 2009 and 2013. That report was released by the Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel last week. The Hope and Justice project says although that’s a small number of cases compared to other states in the nation, it’s important to avoid being complacent in regards to the issue.
Any and every complaint relating to domestic abuse is important to be taken seriously, especially since some cases can lead to homicide.
Executive Director of Hope and Justice Project Francine Garland Stark says, “Fortunately domestic homicide is unusual in terms of being the conclusion of being in a relationship involving domestic violence, but we can’t predict, any of us, which couples involved in domestic violence will end in homicide.”
Getting in touch with the hope and justice project is one step, and a valuable resource. But one mistake they warn about is complacency.
Stark, “….if it hasn’t happened to somebody I know, you can think it’s not happening everyday, at our project we serve over a thousand people a year, there are people everyday in aroostook county who are afraid in their own home.”
A review panel that has looked at domestic abuse homicides in maine has come up with a number of proposed recommendations to avoid homicide in domestic abuse. While Hope and Justice officials say, one of the first and most critical steps that can help prevent the situation all together, is believing someone who raises a concern.
Christy Dingee, Child Protective Liaison at Hope and Justice says, “If they feel a connection to you, if they feel you’re a safe person, they’re probably being honest with you with what their situation is like.”
Dingee adds to look for the signs and unusual behavior that may cause YOU raise questions, rather than deny the claims because of who the person is.
Dingee, “It’s really important not to say I find that hard to believe because I know this person professionally or I know this person socially so I can’t believe that they would ever do that to you.”
The circumstances in each case may vary and that’s why one of the biggest recommendations from the Review panel is it’s emphasis on collaboration between services, which Stark says is something the county can be proud of.
And of course the hotline to Hope and Justice is always available for reporting any abuse or concern about potential domestic violence. That number is 1-800-439-23-23.