IRON MOUNTAIN — 62 white crosses currently line the grounds at First Covenant Church in Iron Mountain, each representing a life lost in the state of Wisconsin last year as a result of domestic violence. The Caring House of Iron Mountain is behind the memorial, and says the number of victims has to change.
“We encourage anybody – if it’s not good in your home – reach out for help, said Caring House Executive Director, Cheryl O’Neil. “It’s free and confidential. There are agencies throughout the Upper Peninsula that are ready to assist people.”
“You can see here today there’s several entities here between all the law enforcement in Dickinson County, the Caring House, the Prosecutor’s Office, and several others are here, because it’s a whole community approach on helping victims of domestic violence,” said Michigan State Police Trooper, Geno Basanese.
However, there are many challenges when it comes to dealing with domestic violence cases, especially when it comes to getting victims to come forward.
“It’s critical that the victims come forward m- that’s one of the hardest steps that a victim has to do, is call for help,” said Michigan State Police First Lieutenant, Paul Campbell. “We try to provide as many services as we can because we realize that it’s not a win-win situation at all in the household. It affects the whole family unit, both children and parents.”
As one of the most under-reported crimes, the effects and signs of Domestic assault can be hard to spot. The Caring House is urging those who have dealt with domestic abuse and violence to come forward and receive the help they need.
“If nothing else, reach out for safety planning, the ‘what-if’s,'” added Executive Director O’Neil. “You might be able to have stayed safe in the past, but what if something changes? So let’s do some safety planning and really learn a little more about how you and your children can stay safe.”