Nearly 20 people per minute fall victim to domestic abuse--that's according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
With the recent domestic driven murders in both madison and limestone county--WAAY 31 spoke with the Madison County Deputy District Attorney and Crisis Services of North Alabama to learn more about the growing epidemic.
According to Deputy District Attorney Tim Gann, there are currently 350 felony domestic violence cases pending and that number is probably double for misdemeanors. That doesn't include the countless other cases that never get reported, making domestic violence one of the nation's leading silent killers.
"The thing about domestic violence is that the instances that are reported are just a small portion of what goes on because it happens in the family and most people want to keep their dirty laundry in the family."
Gann tells WAAY 31 domestic violence usually doesn't get reported until it's way out of hand and the victim's safety is in danger.
"They turn really really violent really fast and that's because the emotion that's involved in it."
Crisis Services of North Alabama tells me for victims the hardest part is reaching out for help as it can be overwhelming with many cases involving kids and financial issues.
"It's just this daunting thing. What do I do? Where do I go? And that all doesn't need to be settled by that person that's why we're here, we have people here that walk through the process of domestic violence and our goal is for that person to heal and to lead a safe life."
But sometimes even when a victim reaches out for help through the legal system, the courts could deny it based on previous history or not enough evidence. Something crisis services says they are prepared for...
"If a protection from abuse order is denied there are other things we can do. We can help that person safety plan...Kind of create a plan to reach out to people...To keep them safe. We can also have them come to our shelter is they need some place to go if they don't feel safe anywhere else, and we do help clients relocate too."
Gann tells me he's seen many cases where the victim will drop the charges themselves hoping things get better.
"These are relationships where at one point the two people were in love and most times they would like to stay in love so you see someone who gets a protection from abuse order...But people kiss and make up."
The biggest thing to know is that there is help out there for those who are being abused and it's a problem that both experts tell me is not going away anytime soon.
Crisis Services also tells WAAY 31 sometimes the abuse can be very hard to see as it's not always the bruise on the cheek like people are expecting. They say the signs to look for is any sudden changes such as quitting their job or someone who has become more isolated.
Crisis Services of North Alabama has a 24 hour help line and it's open 365 days a year. If you are in need or know someone who is dial 256-716-1000.
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