Safely Intervening in Domestic Abuse

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SPRINGFIELD — A class at Mercy Hospital aimed at identifying those situations before they worsen.

Men and women from different organizations gathered to talk about one of the toughest parts for those not directly involved with domestic abuse incidents: How to intervene before someone is seriously injured. 

Janice Gehrke is a victims’ advocate, who is part of the Springfield Sexual Assault Task Force. She helped lead the class, and says that people were able to address how to help victims without getting someone hurt.

“Maybe you can wait until she or he is away from that person and say hey do you need some help?’ Maybe you’re watching — Maybe just the fact that you’re watching makes them aware that somebody is paying attention, maybe making that victim know that they are not alone,” Gehrke says. 

With children, the signs may not be as obvious. Micki Lane with Child Advocacy Center says things like emotional abuse and neglect don’t leave marks, but there are some other things to look for.

“You’re looking at more like the behaviors of the adults that provide supervision or care, how they speak to the child, how they treat the child, but then also how the child may behave around that person,” says Lane. 

This event was held by Community Green Dot Springfield, and you can visit their Facebook page for guidance on any tough questions concerning help for a victim of domestic abuse.

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