Domestic Violence Awareness Month: how Lafayette House is helping abuse victims

JOPLIN, Mo. — Domestic violence can happen any time of the year, but the topic gets additional exposure during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. So when is it time for someone to get out, and who can help them with that?

More women are injured each year from domestic abuse than car accidents, muggings and sexual assault combined.

Lafayette House in Joplin has been a shelter for domestic abuse and sexual assault victims since 1978.

“If you find yourself in a situation um and you’re needing shelter or your just needing a listening ear, maybe your not really sure how far this has gone in your relationship, maybe your unsure of what your options are, we can at least safety plan with you, we can discuss what your options are,” said Susan Hickam, Exec. Director, Lafayette House.

Executive Director Susan Hickam says the goal is to get away from the abuser before nay more violence takes place, especially if there are children involved.

“So when we’re in those situations, safety is paramount to those children and trying to get them into a safe location with trusted adults and assuring that over everything else,” said Hickam.

If you no longer feel safe in a relationship, even if abuse hasn’t taken place yet, Detective Laken Rawlins with J.P.D. Says it’s time to start thinking about a safe exit strategy away from a potential abuser. But if violence takes place, you need to bring in law enforcement asap.

“The best time to call us is if there’s an emergency, or if somebody’s hurt, definitely call the police, call 911, get us involved so we can get the investigation started,” said Detective Laken Rawlins, Joplin Police Department.

If abuse is allowed to continue, and children are witnesses to it, they may grow up thinking that’s acceptable relationship behavior.

“We know that children who are involved in domestic violence situations they’re learning, they’re learning about the abuse, they’re learning about the abuse cycle, they’re learning about victimization, they’re learning about abusing and we’re setting the tone for their future,” said Hickam.

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