Increased reports on domestic violence compels more victims to seek help

    (Courtesy: MGN)

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Numerous media reports of domestic violence have shined a light on help for victims.

    In Central Ohio, there are numerous options for help including at CHOICES in Columbus. The organization is run by Lutheran Social Services.

    "The problem of domestic violence is not news to us,” said executive director Sue Villilo.

    Stories dominating headlines include the Kirkersville tragedy where Thomas Hartless shot and killed his girlfriend, her coworker, and the town's chief of police.

    On Monday, there were two more cases:

    • In Akron, a mother, her boyfriend and her five kids died in a house fire set by the woman's estranged spouse.
    • Locally, the murder of a Pickerington woman is being investigated by Columbus police as a case of domestic violence.

    Villilo explained there’s an increase in victims looking for help after seeing media reports of domestic violence. According to Villilo, the organization gets five-to-six calls every day from people police say are in danger.

    Between 2013 and 2015, the attorney general's office reports calls for help have increased.

    CHOICES operates a shelter and has community advocates who check on victims. People seeking help talk with trained advocates who help explore their options.

    Villilo explained despite the worst case scenario, she often hears stories of hope from victims.

    "We get to see folks come in and use our services and improve their lives and move on and do the things that they want to do and reach their goals,” said Villilo.

    CHOICES operates a 24-hour hotline anyone can call at 614-224-4663.

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