Domestic violence on the rise in Dunn County

Not only are domestic violence cases on the rise, but the abuse is also becoming more severe, according to Darianne Johnson of the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center in Dickinson.

Representatives from the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center in Dickinson speak to Dunn County emergency responders about services available to domestic assault victims. – Photo by Jennifer Kocher

BY JENNIFER KOCHER

Dunn County Herald

 Posted Oct. 26, 2012

Not only are domestic violence cases on the rise, but the abuse is also becoming more severe, according to Darianne Johnson of the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center in Dickinson.

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Johnson spoke to Dunn County emergency services providers last Wednesday about the protocol for handling abuse cases, as well as the various options available to the victims of domestic violence. It is Johnson’s goal to form a working relationship between Dunn County emergency providers and her organization to better provide relief and assistance to victims of abuse.

In Dunn County alone, there were 14 reported cases of domestic violence last month, while Dickinson reported 15 cases within the last three days. Currently, there are 25 clients in the Rape Crisis Center in Dickinson in a facility designed to house 18. Moreover, according to Johnson, the numbers of protective orders are also going up.

In other words, the Crisis Center in Dickinson, which serves eight counties including Dunn, is operating at peak capacity and having a hard time keeping up with the services needed to help victims of abuse.

Unfortunately, domestic violence is a growing concern both locally and nationally. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. An estimated 1.3 million people are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, and 85 percent of these victims are women.

And though abuse happens across the board in all socioeconomic groups and areas, females between the ages of 20-24 are at the greatest risk of violence.

Along with the increase in the volume of reported cases, what is equally troubling to Dunn County Deputy Ron Krivoruchka is the severity of the abuse, and the number of repeat cases.

“Drugs and alcohol are definitely a part of the problem,” Krivoruchka said. “Inhibitions go down, and the aggressor doesn’t even realize what he is doing.”

Johnson agrees. “Ninety-five percent of the cases we see involve drugs and/or alcohol,” she said.

Furthermore, according to Krivoruchka, the biggest obstacle for responders to a reported domestic dispute is the uncertainty of walking into a potentially explosive scene and trying to figure out who is the aggressor.

“Domestic violence calls are by far the most dangerous ones to make,” he said.

And though some are quick to blame the increase in domestic abuse cases on the influx of new oil-field workers, Johnson said that actually the bulk of cases she sees are local women – a statistic which Krivoruchka says is also true of Dunn County.

For more information about the resources available to victims of abuse or how a person might help assist the Rape Crisis Center, call 888-225-4506.


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