2015 deadliest year for domestic violence in a decade for Georgia
CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - A new report reveals 2015 was the deadliest year in a decade when it comes to domestic violence in Georgia, and Chatham County is high on the list.
The report is called the Georgia Fatality Review Report , and it's published annually by the Georgia Commission on Family Violence and the Georgia Coalition against Domestic Violence.
According to Cheryl Branch, the executive director for SAFE Shelter in Savannah, 2015 was a bad year for Georgia, but it was a horrific year for Savannah.
"Domestic violence homicides comprised about 10 percent of the violent deaths in Savannah last year, which is just incredible," said Branch.
When you look at the statewide numbers, Chatham County and Gwinnett County tied for the second-most deaths related to domestic violence, while Fulton County topped the list.
"We usually average two or three - which is one too many - but for us to come in second after Atlanta, that's awful, it's horrible," said Branch.
For more than six months last year, SAFE Shelter was over capacity. Hitting a record high at one point, which Branch says is a good thing. People who need help are getting it.
Plus, Metro police officers have been undergoing additional domestic violence training.
"So you would think consequently that the numbers would be going down, and they're going up,"
said Branch. "And I don't have an answer for that."
"No matter if you feel like you're isolated or that you are alone, you're really not alone. There is someone out there that can help," said Roxanne Redmond, a survivor of domestic violence.
When Redmond met her ex-husband years ago, she had no idea he was possessive and abusive.
"I tried to leave a couple of times, but I was isolated," she said. "I didn't have my family with me, so it was a real struggle trying to get away from him. It wasn't until I got help from a shelter... they helped pull me out of that situation."
Friday, Redmond works at SAFE Shelter, helping do the same for other women. But it doesn't take working there to be a part of the solution. Just being aware of the services available can save someone's life.
"Because you never know when somebody's going to cross your path and they're going to need help, and you might be the first person that they've confided in," said Branch. "They say, 'I'm scared. I don't know what to do.' And you need to know what to be able to tell them."
It's important to point out that there are always places to go and services available for any woman or man in an abusive relationship. You can learn more at the SAFE Shelter website and by calling them at 912.629.8888.
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