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Continuing the conversation on domestic violence awareness

Each year, ribbons are laid on the Child and Family Services lawn to remember those lost to domestic violence
Posted at 4:53 AM, Oct 20, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The phones continue to ring at Haven House of Buffalo. Victims, family members and friends are on the other line, asking for help in situations with intimate partner violence.

“I hear a lot of the worst of the worst, the most dangerous cases, the most physically violent," said Tara Petty, a leader on Haven House's High Risk Team.

Between 2019 and 2020, Haven House, which runs through Child and Family Services of Erie County, served 282 people and took more than 1,800 hotline calls. Petty deals with the worst of those cases.

"When I say high risk, I mean high risk of being murdered by their partner, so they’re cases that are risk of domestic violence homicide," said Petty.

Haven house serves anyone 16 and older in Erie County who needs help in domestic violence situations. They have 36 beds and they've remained full all this year.

"We’re really seeing the whole gamut of domestic violence, every day in the work that we do," said Sara Gartland, Director of Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention with Child and Family Services.

Another part of the job is getting the word out there, educating people on domestic violence and the resources in our area.
She was one of the presenters in Child and Family Service's Domestic Violence Awareness Month Speaker Series.

Earlier this month, Dr. Noelle St. Vil of The University at Buffalo spoke—sharing research findings that show domestic violence happens more often in black communities and finding out why some women don’t seek help.

"Black women are more likely when we call the police to experience dual arrest, I could be arrested, my kids could go to social services…all of this is a factor," said St. Vil.

The Domestic Violence Awareness Month speaker series runs through the end of the month
The Domestic Violence Awareness Month speaker series runs through the end of the month

The goal is to continue the conversation and engage more people in the community—while giving them the tools to help.

Petty says look out for physical abuse as well as emotional, psychological and financial abuse.

"Maybe they’re watching their every move, tracking where they’re going, those behaviors could be indicative of an abusive relationship," said Petty.

Next in the speaker series, Lauri Wierzbicki, mother of Raechel Wierzbicki who was shot by her boyfriend in 2018, will focus on how domestic violence impacts families and loved ones.

And on October 27, Maria “Redd Rox” Redd from WBLK will share her story as a survivor of domestic violence including the help she received that saved her life.

This speaker series is free, all you have to do is register online by clicking here.

And if you do need help—there is a 24 hour domestic violence hotline, the number is 716-884-6000 or you can chat confidentially online by clicking here.