“It’s a pandemic across the world”: Domestic violence advocates urge victims to seek help

Domestic Violence

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)- A string of domestic violence cases in recent days have advocates reacting.

“I worry about survivors who are trying to figure out what their next steps are,” said Darlene Thomas. “How to leave, when to leave, if to leave. What that could look like for themselves and their children.”

Thomas is the executive director of Greenhouse17, which provides outreach, support, and a shelter for those who are experiencing intimate partner violence. Thomas says domestic violence is a pandemic across the world, including right here in Central Kentucky.

Sergeant Eddie Hart of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office says they see domestic violence cases daily.

“They’re willing to stay in a very bad relationship, in a very bad situation and allow children to be in this situation,” Hart said. “So what we talk about is trying to break that cycle of someone being so dependent on that.”

Advocates for domestic violence victims say those relationships can begin with jealousy, before growing into verbal, physical and mental abuse. They say the longer someone stays in a toxic relationship like that, the harder it is for them to leave.

“It’s a very daunting task and that is probably the top reason that so many men and women choose to be in so many bad relationships,” Hart said.

Thomas says there are resources available for those experiencing domestic violence. She urges people to reach out and get the help they need, including their 24/7 hotline by calling 800-544-2022.

Hart says the sheriff’s office works with domestic violence groups, including Elizabeth’s Village, to offer help to victims.

“You’ve got to speak up. If you’re in a relationship that’s starting show signs of violence, starting to show signs of domestic issues, get help soon. Don’t let it snowball down the hill to be a bigger problem,” Hart said.

Thomas says it’s important to say something if you believe someone needs help in a domestic violence situation because your voice could be the difference in life or death.

“Therefore, I treat every situation as potentially and I think we all should as a community to really take these cases seriously. Folks are reaching out for help but as a community, we have to hear that,” Thomas said.

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

You can also visit the Nest website here.

For more information about Greenhouse17, click here.

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