Domestic violence advocates urge victims to organize safety plan immediately

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Dozens of Indy Hoosiers have been killed this year by domestic violence. Sadly, the numbers show a significant increase over last year.

Advocates are urging survivors to put together a safety plan now, regardless of when they plan to leave their situation. Danyette Smith, a survivor and the founder of Silent No More Inc., wants victims to know there’s a way out and her organization, operating 4pm to 8am, can help.

“So even if this is in the midnight hour, call us,” Smith said. “We can get you into that hotel safe and work on that plan so that way you don’t go back.”

Experts said a safety plan usually includes knowing the location of your medicines, letting a trusted person know your plan, having a location you plan to go once you leave and gathering your important documents.

“Once you’re trying to get employment again, or once you’re trying to get long-term housing, you’re going to need these documents,” Jacqueline Willett, Intake and Wellbeing Services Coordinator at Coburn Place, said.

Smith said to let a neighbor who you trust know your plan too.

“If you see the porch light on at an odd time or if you see me flickering the porch light, to automatically call 911,” Smith explained.

Willett said the chances of death do increase once a victim leaves, so she urges people to take steps beforehand to save their lives.

“I never ever ever ever tell a survivor, no matter what she’s stating is happening, to leave,” Willett said. “What I do is let them know the resources that are out there and the potential danger that could happen if you were to remain in the home.”

IMPD advises people to call 911 if an emergency arises.

“We’re required to make a report just to document the nature of the incident, it comes to my unit, which is the domestic violence unit, for follow up,” Sgt. Dale Marshall with the Domestic Violence Unit said.

Working through the legal system does take time, and police are limited by the law. Plus, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office screens cases too.

“There are times where it doesn’t reach to the level of a criminal case but that doesn’t mean that’s the end of our investigation,” Marshall said. “Like I said, our detectives also provide safety plans and outside resources.”

Victims can file a protective order right now online to start the process. Just visit indy.gov/activity/file-a-protective-order.

Domestic violence resources

For people in domestic violence situations in need of help, there are several resources in the Indianapolis area that you can reach out to for assistance, including:

You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE) or visit their website to learn more.

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