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October is domestic violence awareness month. As your Sheriff, I
am always focused on the safety and well-being of domestic violence victims in our community.

This month, I want to take the opportunity to place special emphasis on this topic and the work being
done locally.

Domestic violence, unfortunately, continues to be one of the most underreported crimes. Statistics show that as much as 42% of women in Indiana have experienced some form of violence by a partner or spouse.

These cases remain among the most difficult and complex cases to investigate and to ensure victim safety in the future.

Domestic violence also impacts children. Children are often not only caught up in violence between domestic partners and spouses, they are also victims themselves.

Research by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk indicates the costs of child abuse “exceed those of cancer or heart disease.” We are certainly not immune to the effects of domestic violence and child abuse on children in our community and I will continue to push back vigorously on this issue.

In doing so, it is my hope to eradicate as much trauma for young
Hoosiers as possible.

When these instances of violence occur, it is difficult for others to understand why victims stay. There are a variety of reasons this can be the case, including feelings of isolation, financial reasons, feelings of fear, isolation, and denial.

I urge the public to report suspected abuse. Recognizing signs of abuse can help friends and family identify victims and facilitate connecting them to vital resources. Victims of domestic violence may be isolated, appear depressed, have low self-esteem, or engage in substance abuse.

The cycle of violence for victims often comes in three stages. In the first stage, the victim may feel as if they are constantly walking on eggshells. The perpetrator may be easily angered, blame the victim, or argue more often. Next, the perpetrator may actually attack the victim, physically, sexually, or emotionally.

This will often be followed by a “make-up” period where the abuser is apologetic and reassure the victim it will not happen again.

If we are going to make any impact to reduce incidents of violence in our community, we need to ensure victims have access to the information and resources that can help. Of course, anyone can contact the Sheriff’s Department for information and resources, in addition to our responses to emergency calls.

As your Sheriff, I also work hand in hand with the Prosecutor’s Office, which can assist with filing protective orders, obtaining restitution, emergency and short-term housing, counseling, confidential address relocation, victim advocacy and assistance programs.

There are also a number of resources available
through our local service providers including emergency shelter and prevention programs.

If we can help more adult and child victims feel protected and supported by increasing awareness of the resources available locally to help them begin again, I am hopeful we will one day break the cycle of abuse.

For emergencies, you should call 911. For more information about resources available from the Sheriff’s Department, you may call (812) 883-5999. If you are a victim of violence, resources including the emergency shelter can be accessed locally by calling (812) 883-3318.