Disturbing headlines illustrate domestic violence trend

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) — New statistics show domestic violence is on the rise in Central Virginia.

The tragic headlines are difficult to forget: A man in a shootout with Richmond police after he stabbed his girlfriend 40 times in her Chesterfield workplace. He pleaded guilty to the crime.

Then there’s the harrowing story of a teen who called 911 after finding her mother stabbed to death on the kitchen floor of her Chesterfield home. The teen’s father, Tony Williams, was charged and his case is headed to a grand jury.

“We see these headlines and they make it apparent that it can happen anywhere. Domestic violence does not discriminate and it can happen to all kinds of families,”   Safe Harbor’s domestic violence expert Angela Verdery said.

CBS 6 investigated how domestic violence has impacted the metro area.

Experts say stats compiled by the Family and Intimate Partner Homicide Surveillance Project paint a bleak picture from 2006-2010.

  • Chesterfield: 21 domestic violence homicides — 18 intimate partner related (meaning they were committed by a spouse or a lover)
  • Henrico: 28 domestic violence homicides — 14 involved intimate partners.
  • Richmond: 57 domestic violence homicides– 37 involved intimate partners.

Experts say it’s important to look beyond the numbers and try to figure out what  we as a community can do to educate more people about domestic violence and how it destroys lives.

“We live in a world where we want to tell everybody how to fix their lives, but it’s not that easy,” Verdery added. “We have to take time, make the investments in the folks we love and listen. We should be making those connections and getting them the help they need and offer what you are able to offer.”

Verdery explains Safe Harbor is always willing to help those who find themselves in tough situations. From victims, to family members who want to help those being abused, Verdery says they can offer assistance.

For children/youth services, emergency shelter, hospital accompaniment, court advocacy or community training call 804-287-7877.

In Chesterfield, a special training is also being offered for prosecutors, law enforcement, advocates and allied professionals is being held on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Smith Wagner Building on Lucy Corr Circle.

The training is free, but you must register by Feb. 21. For more information, call 804-692-0485.

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