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Report details domestic violence data in Maine

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 2:20 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Every two years, Maine’s Attorney General releases a report centered around Domestic violence in the state. Cam Smith has more on how one local organization is working to combat the issue.

A report recently released from the Attorney General’s office focuses on domestic violence. Specifically, 18 domestic homicides in Maine from 2018-2019. Which equates to 43% of Maine’s total homicides during that period.

Chelsie Johnson, Outreach Coordinator at Hope and Justice Project says, the report provides recommendations for how to respond to and protect people from domestic abuse.

“One big take away from the homicide review panels report is that they found that most of the time when a person was killed, they were not working with a domestic violence resource center,” Johnson said. “It’s really important that if you as a community member, if you know anybody who you suspect is a victim of domestic violence, that you refer them to us.”

According to the report, of the 18 victims, 5 were children. Prevention educator, Stephen Tibbert says the organization has provided resources to local schools.

“We’re trying to work with the younger generation from Pre-K up until grade 12 and then working on the universities as well,” Tibbert said. “So, we do bring in age-appropriate material. That’s going to cover subjects such as teen dating violence awareness or empathy, cooperation, team building, respect, things like that.”

Johnson says the pandemic has created a sense of hesitancy for victims of domestic abuse.

“During the course of the pandemic we’ve been told to keep social distance from people. Maybe your only option is to come to a domestic violence shelter where its congregate living,” Johnson adds. “By virtue of the fact that it’s congregate living, that can sound really scary especially right now. We’ve definitely worked with people who don’t feel like coming to a shelter is a safe option for them right now.”

Johnson says given the challenges during the pandemic; they have worked to adapt their services to meet community need.

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