Suffering in silence: Local cities tormented by domestic violence

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Right now, someone you know could be being abused and covering up the scars.

As we've seen over the past few weeks, domestic abuse is very real and it's happening in every city.

In Newport News, Police Chief Steve Drew said in his "Chat with the Chief" that domestic violence is the only crime that is up since last year.

"I've seen what domestic violence does to people who are victims. I've seen what it does to families and to kids, and I think we can do better," he said.

Of the 15 homicides this year in the city, Chief Drew said four are a direct result of domestic violence. Most recently, a young mother of two was killed by her children's father.

Friends said they were married but had been separated for a while. Now, they are wondering how they missed any signs.

"Maybe there was a problem, maybe there was an issue, maybe this could have been avoided. He could have gotten help or she could have gotten protection," Flawless Knight said.

Sara Reynolds, a counselor with the YWCA in Norfolk, said, "It's so hard for victims because a lot of times they don't want their friends and family to know. They're ashamed that they allowed it to get this far."

While we can't speculate what has happened in each case, we do know that countless lives have been changed.

Earlier this year in Portsmouth, a man killed his sister and stepfather. Just last week, a man killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself in Virginia Beach.  These are just a few examples of the violence and rage that lives in our seven cities.

"It's very difficult to leave, especially if you have children or if you're dependent upon somebody financially. Where do you go? What do you do?" Reynolds said.

In Chesapeake, police said no murders have been linked to domestic violence in 2019, but this year there have been 381 cases involving domestic assault alone.

Back in Newport News where the numbers are on the rise, Chief Drew is working with local advocates to be more present in the community.

He said change starts with each person.

"[If you or someone you know is being abused] please, please reach out to someone and let them know. Please have a conversation with someone."

Advocates with the YWCA said it takes a woman between 8 to 10 times to leave an abuser and often when they get the courage to leave, that's when things turn the most violent.

If you are in imminent danger, counselors and volunteers will help you seek shelter and safety.

The coordinated crisis response line number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That number is: 757-251-0144.

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