COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Local domestic violence shelters are speaking out after two people died Monday in a domestic violence-related incident in Groveport.

“We have staff there all the time, 24 hours a day, to answer the phones and to provide services to individuals,” said Lillian Howard, director of clinical and supportive services at LSS Choices for victims of domestic violence.

Over the past few years, Howard said cases of domestic violence have gone up. From July 2020 to June 2021, 131 Ohioans died from a domestic-violence-related incident, a 20% increase from the year before, according to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network.

“We’re also seeing an increase in number of people that are wanting to get services, whether they’re involved in a domestic violence relationship or they’re not involved in that relationship,” Howard said.

While LSS Choices encourages victims or survivors of domestic violence to reach out, Howard said she urges loved ones or family members to be on the lookout for signs of abuse.

“One of the things that family members typically when I talk to them, that’s one of the things that they talk about is that, ‘I’m no longer able to really talk to that person because this individual is controlling every aspect of that victim’s lives,'” Howard said.

Friends or co-workers can be just as helpful, she said, by speaking up about signs of domestic violence.

“You notice that that person’s either calling off a lot or if they’re coming in, they’re kind of having these bruises on their body, but they’re saying things like, ‘I fell into a door,’ ‘I fell downstairs,’ so you start noticing that,” said Howard.

If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, visit LSS Choices.