Domestic violence resources tighten

Domestic violence resources tighten

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by Abbey Gibb

kgw.com

Posted on February 20, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 20 at 6:58 PM

PORTLAND -- Multnomah County continues to see a steady flow of domestic violence homicide cases while the rest of violent crimes go down. And in the midst of that, resources for women trying to escape, have been drastically cut.

Inside a nondescript Portland home, a young woman picked up a phone where more than 5,000 will call this year.

Officials said 5,000 wives and girlfriends look to the Portland Women's Crisis Line for hope. But this year, only a few 100 will see help.

"As you can see everything right now is full," said Rebecca Nickels, the crisis line's executive director, while pointing to a whiteboard listing the area shelters.

"That's pretty typical. We only see one spot per week open up."

In 2011, 3,600 women were turned away and advocates think it will be 4,000 in 2012.

"Sometimes they stop calling us because they get used to hearing there isn't anything available to them and they stop thinking that there will be," Nickels added.

One of those initially turned away was "Danielle" whose asked her identity be protected.

"He waited till I got pregnant and then he started pushing me around," she said. "He put me in the hospital many times, many broken bones. He threw me out of a moving car."

But when Danielle got the strength to call the crisis line, officials told her there was nothing available in the shelters.

"I cried," she said. "We have nowhere to go. I then called every shelter individually and we did that for six weeks."

In the meantime, Danielle and her two small children stayed in a motel, but money from the state and her savings was running out.

"If I couldn't find somewhere to go, I was going to have to go back. There was no option," she said, holding back tears. Back to a relationship she said she knew would kill her,

You're more at risk to be killed because you've left once and abusers know that you'll leave and they are not going to let it happen again, experts say.

Fifteen women have been killed by their boyfriends or husbands in Multnomah County in the past two years. Compare that to eight over the previous two years.

"Every time we have a domestic violence homicide it feels like the system has failed at some level," said Portland Police Sgt. Tina Jones.

Portland Police respond to at least 75 domestic violence calls a day.

"It's staggering," Sgt. Jones said while holding a huge stack of reports at her desk. "They go on and on."

Some victims do finally break this vicious cycle.

After six weeks and with just dollars left, Danielle recently got a spot at a local shelter.

"I can walk around now. I'm not worried. It's brought me to a place where I feel I can help other people and let them know, don't give up. If this is your only chance to go, go." she said emphatically.

Before you leave an abusive relationship, there are a few things advocates want you to do: Make a safety plan.

The domestic violence hotline can help you every step of the way. You'll need to grab things like your drivers license, birth certificate, social security cards and passports.

If you're a friend or neighbor who suspects violence, speak up to the victim and to police For more on safety planning click here

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