Domestic violence spike in Spink County

By  | 

SPINK COUNTY - Since the start of this year, the Family Crisis Center in Redfield says it has seen a rise in the number of calls from victims of abuse.

The Spink County Sheriff's Department also says it's recently seen a spike in domestic violence arrests around the county.

Recently, the Family Crisis Center has been a full house more times than anyone would like to see.

"We've been busy since the first of the year, since January we've been a lot," says Romelle Fortin, the center's executive director.

It's a trend the Spink County Sheriff's Department is also seeing.

"It seems like the first part of may things started picking up from normally it might run or two a month, but it seems like it's been running one or two a week at least," says Kevin Schurch, the county's sheriff.

The shelter has six rooms, and helps victims in Spink, Hand and Faulk county. It's an overwhelming responsibility for the three caretakers of the shelter, and the recent influx doesn't make it easier.

Many victims tell shelter employees their abusers are under the influence of drugs when the abuse begins.

Victims are learning how helpful the shelter can be for them.

One in three college women will be sexual assaulted during their first year of school. To raise awareness for the women locally, shelter employees reach out to students and hand out whistles for protection.

"We don't want to frighten seniors about their freshman year of college, but what we do is give them information on how this happens an to raise awareness," says Penny Ihnen, the rural advocate for the shelter.

Fortin says they don't put a time limit on how long victims can stay with them. But they'd always rather see an empty shelter than a full house.

If you or anyone you know would like more information on shelters offered in your area, call the South Dakota Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-430-SAFE.