CLEVELAND - More than 16,000 victims of domestic violence reach out to the local Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Helpline each year. According to CEO Linda Johanek, there are many, many more victims who don't call.
"We're concerned about their safety," she said. "They deserve to be safe."
Johanek's comments followed a double murder-suicide in Cleveland Monday night. Police said Demar Perry shot and killed his ex-girlfriend , 22-year-old Nakisha Jackson, and her 6-year-old daughter, Kammia, before killing himself.
Johanek said the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is when she says she's leaving and after she leaves. That's why it's important to have a safety plan.
"A safety plan is different for everyone," she said, "but often includes things like make sure you put your important documents, birth certificates, social security cards, either at a friend's house or hidden somewhere. Keep an extra set of keys with a friend. Pack a bag and keep it somewhere. It's really about being prepared so that if you have to leave immediately, you have some things, you have a plan in place."
Johanek said a woman must also anticipate what could happen after she leaves.
"Does he know where you work? Does he know where you live? What about the children's school?"
A safety plan is one of the things women can get help with at the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center. They also provide counseling and shelter.
The 24-hour helpline is 216-391-HELP. Or view their website at http://www.dvcac.org/
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