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Domestic violence prevention advocates say they've seen a spike in crisis calls in the past year

Harbor House
Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-24 18:41:37-04

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY (NBC 26) — As NBC 26 has previously reported, there have recently been several homicides in the Fox Valley area where domestic violence appears to have been a factor, including in the town of Liberty where a man killed his wife before taking his own life.

While many of us only hear about domestic violence incidents when they turn deadly, it's something that those who work with survivors of domestic violence experience everyday.

“It’s always jarring and it’s always horrific when we have a homicide of any kind but for those of us that work in domestic violence and sexual violence, it’s not surprising because our numbers have been steadily increasing," said Tracy Plamann, the interm CEO of Harbor Housein Appleton.

Palmann says Harbor House, which provides emergency shelter, resources, and counseling for those impacted by domestic abuse, has seen a spike in hotline calls over the past year. It's a common trend that domestic violence services providers are seeing from the Green Bay area to the Fox Cities.

“Our crisis calls increased last year by 47%," Plamann said.

"Just this year so far we have taken over 2,472 hotline calls and last year we took a little over 7,000 hotline calls," said Cheeia Lo, the executive director of Golden House in Green Bay.

In response to the growing need, many domestic violence prevention advocates have stepped up their community outreach. Recently Golden House has partnered with local law enforcement for their Be Safe Campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence in Brown County.

“Statistics say that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will be abused by their partner in their lifetime and we see that number here in Brown County, in our community," Lo said.

Advocates say it’s important to know the warning signs if you think someone you know could be experiencing domestic abuse. Alicia Gehrig, the executive director of Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services Inc. in Oshkosh, says their non-profit has also seen an increase in the amount of crisis calls and those seeking shelter. She says one of the primary warnings signs of domestic abuse to look for is isolation.

“Controlling what you do, who you can see, what you can wear, those are all signs to look for," Gehrig said.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing domestic violence, you can call the following numbers:

Harbor House 24-hour helpline: (920) 832-1666

Golden House 24-hour helpline: (920) 432-4244 or the 920-212-SAFE hotline

Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services 24-hour helpline: (800) 261-5998