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Reporting Abuse and How SPD Can Help

It was Monday afternoon when a boyfriend and girlfriend got into an argument at their shared West Seattle home. He grabbed her by the shoulders. When she tried to run from him, he shot her in the neck with a BB gun.

Officers arrived at the couples’ home and found the boyfriend in the front yard, hiding behind a hedge. The girlfriend was with her two children down the street.

The woman was reluctant to talk to officers about what had happened. She said she was worried her boyfriend’s mother would kick her out of the house, just like the last time she called police after her boyfriend had gotten violent.

Unfortunately, incidents like this one—which is now being investigated by the Seattle Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit—are becoming all too common in Seattle.

“With the economy the way it is, people feel like there are fewer options,” says Seattle Police Department Domestic Violence Unit Lieutenant Debie King. “Most of our victims are reliant on the abuser for income or housing.”

Potentially faced with homelessness, Lt. King says, some victims of domestic violence don’t always report abuse.

“What we know through many many, years of research is the violence continues to escalate,” says Lt. King. “Whether it’s verbal abuse or physical abuse, [victims] need to report it and allow us to assist them and help them develop a safety plan.”

In addition to investigating abuse, SPD’s Domestic Violence Unit also provides victims with support through the victim advocate and Victim Support Team programs. Advocates and support team members can help assist victims of abuse in obtaining housing, food, a bus ticket,  a phone, or anything else they may need to get out of a dangerous situation.

Visit the Domestic Violence Unit’s webpage for more information on reporting abuse and the support SPD provides to victims.