If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence relationship, a new initiative in Erie County aims to curb high risk cases, offer help to victims and hold abusers accountable.
The Erie County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday its Domestic Violence High Risk Team, which will assess and review cases that are at risk to end in homicide or a repeat assault.
“Thanks to the bold leadership of Congressman Brian Higgins and Congressman Chris Collins we will be able to strengthen services to all victims of domestic violence in Erie County,” said Acting District Attorney Flaherty in a press release.
The comprehensive team will bridge the gaps between resources available to victims. The High Risk Team will allow law enforcement to work hand-in-hand with resource centers and the courts. It will also work to assess and hold abusers accountable. You can read more about the High Risk Team here.
The High Risk Team will also pay close attention to danger assessment to determine the severity of a case and the appropriate intervention.
Experts urge victims to call the hotline to explore their options and remind them that everything is confidential.
Local numbers to call 24/7 are 716-862-4357 and 716-884-6000.
Family and friends who suspect a loved-one may be in a domestic violence relationship are encouraged to call as well to learn more about how to approach the situation and get help.
"It's not as easy as you may think to pull out of it and you're buried by all these feelings of helplessness and haplessness and because you don't want to share that you think you may have been weak to 'allow' this to happen," said Suzanne Suchan, a local survivor of domestic violence.
Suchan now uses her story to help inspire other victims to get out of abusive relationships.
"It doesn't have to be like that, don't leave yourself to be a statistic."
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