Police say domestic violence incidents are among the more dangerous calls officer can respond to. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime.
Here in Spokane, there are efforts to curb these statistics. The Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Team is a coalition of Spokane Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office detectives, police officers, District Attorneys, and victims’ advocates with the YWCA that works to combat domestic violence.
Detective Barb Byington, who has been with Spokane Police’s domestic violence unit for five years, says this task force started after the 2014 murder-suicide at Deaconess Medical Center, where a husband walked into the hospital and shot his wife, who worked there, before turning the gun on himself.
The center offers victim advocacy, safety planning, counseling services, legal assistance (restraining orders, assistance with filing for divorce, etc.), free childcare service and a 24-hour, confidential domestic abuse helpline (509-326-CALL) staffed by victims’ advocates from the YWCA.
The collaboration gives victims one place to go if they need help, rather than going to multiple locations around Spokane. It also helps with coordination among the multiple agencies because they’re all right next door to one another.
“So if they have problems with something they could come to us and we could remedy that so nothing falls through the cracks,” Byington says.
Det. Byington said that the taskforce is continuing to grow its resources in order to better combat domestic violence. And there is certainly a need for programs like this – according to the NCADV, on a single day in 2014, Washington domestic violence programs served 1,930 victims/survivors, while 549 were turned away due to a lack of resources.
If you know of anyone who needs help, you can always call YWCA’s 24-hour confidential helpline for domestic abuse: 509-326-CALL (509-326-2255).
For more information on getting help: https://ywcaspokane.org/programs/help-with-domestic-violence/