Murder-suicide of two young girls by father shines spotlight on domestic violence

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus Police were originally responding to a report of a domestic dispute, finding two dead children who were killed at the hands of their father, who police said then took his own life.

The Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN) spoke to NBC 4’s Jennifer Bullock about what to look for and what to do if you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 10 million people a year are physically abused by a partner, but Alicia Williamson with ODVN said domestic violence doesn’t always leave a visible mark.

“Domestic violence is not just physical violence alone,” Williamson said. “Emotional abuse, verbal abuse, those are signs that you really need to reach out to someone.”

Other warning signs that someone may need help include wearing heavier than usual makeup, baggy or loose clothing, or exhibiting a sense of constant alertness or the inability to relax.

“Domestic abuse can take a serious, emotional toll, creating a sense of hopelessness and despair that they will never escape,” Williamson said.

If you recognize any of these signs in someone you know, Williamson said to safely intervene.

“Listen and offer confidentiality,” she said. “Listen without judging, and it’s important because survivors often don’t have anyone to talk to. It’s not easy, but it’s the best support you can give, and we aske the community to stay engaged, stay committed, to being that critical lifeline of safety for someone.”

If you need help, call the Ohio Domestic Violence Network at 614-781-9651 or reach out to your local domestic violence program, which can be found by searching on odvn.org.

Many programs offer emergency shelter, legal advocacy, support groups, and counseling.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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