Jeramey Jannene

Domestic Violence Surging In Milwaukee

Reports up 28% in April. Officials urge those in unsafe homes to turn to community resources for help.

By - Apr 29th, 2020 10:11 am
Sojourner Family Peace Center. Photo from the City of Milwaukee.

Sojourner Family Peace Center. Photo from the City of Milwaukee.

A shooting Monday that left five people dead as a result of a domestic-violence related incident drew more attention to a growing crisis in Milwaukee.

“Yesterday was a heartbreaking day for the entire city,” said Carmen Pitre, president and CEO of the Sojourner Family Peace Center. Four of the five individuals killed were teenagers. A suspect is in custody.

“Not everyone is safer at home because of the realities of domestic violence,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele Tuesday afternoon in reference to the county’s Stay Home, Save Lives COVID-19 campaign.” From January 1st to April 1st the Milwaukee Police Department reported an eight percent increase in domestic violence.” He said the reports were up 28 percent in April.

Mayor Tom Barrett confirmed Abele’s report. “I think we all recognize, now that we are weeks and weeks into this, how stressful it is for most families,” said the mayor.

Officials are encouraging people to reach out to friends, family and neighbors to check on their well being.

“It is important to understand that although we are in a state of social distancing, we don’t want to be in a state of social disconnection because that creates vulnerabilities,” said Reggie Moore, director of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention.

“We think that is really critical during this time of isolation,” said Pitre.

“We are asking people to go to the website, stayhomemke.com, and look at the resources that are available there,” said David Muhammad, deputy director of the county’s Department of Health and Human Services. The site includes links to an online chat service available from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, a text message service (send your ZIP code to 898211 to initiate) and phone numbers to a variety of organizations including multiple 24-hour hotlines. “We encourage folks to call 211 if you want to get connected to those resources.”

Pitre stressed that the resources aren’t just for those that are victims. “We also want to get the message out that if you’re hurting someone, reach out for help,” she said.

Sojourner, which operates a shelter for women and children that are victims of domestic abuse, offers a 24-hour hotline at 414-933-2722. UMOS offers a 24-hour bilingual hotline at 414-389-6508. The Hmong American Women’s Association operates a 24-hour hotline at 877-740-4292. Advocate Aurora Health Care operates a 24-hour, confidential hotline at 414-219-5555.

Want to report a problem you’re seeing but remain anonymous? Call Crime Stoppers at 414-224-TIPS (8477) or submit the issue MilwaukeeCrimeStoppers.com. Individuals reporting crimes will also be eligible for rewards of up to $1,000.

Are you in immediate danger? Call 911.

Sojourner COVID-19 Awareness Video

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