Weekend Incidents Put Spotlight On Helping Domestic Violence Victims

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the month of October comes to an end, so does Domestic Violence Awareness month.

We are still seeing more situations where family members are suffering at the hands of loved ones. WCCO’s Reg Chapman spoke with an expert on how you can help someone who may not know where to turn.

Saturday night, police say a man walked into a Brooklyn Park home and shot an adult female in the face. The suspect was known to the victim.

Across the border in Wisconsin on Friday night, a domestic situation turned violent leaving a mother and her daughter as well as the man she divorced last year, dead inside their rural Chetek, Wis., home. Experts say there are ways everyone can help decrease the occurrences of domestic violence.

“There are organizations like Tubman all across the community that can help people with a safety plan, and safety plans are tailored to your particular situation,” Jennifer Polzin with the Harriet Tubman Center said.

Harriet Tubman Center’s Executive Director, Jennifer Polzin, says now is the time for neighbors, friends and co-workers to make sure they know how to help someone get out of an unhealthy situation.

“You don’t need to have all the answers. All you really need to do is believe them, let them know that they are not alone and that the violence is not their fault,” Polzin said.

Polzin says services for victims of domestic violence are on the rise, allowing organizations to focus on prevention services. But budget cuts have forced groups like Tubman to focus on crisis intervention services to make sure no one in need is turned away.

Polzin says police are trained to spot situations where people are not safe. She hopes as a community we all become the first line of defense for the vulnerable.

“I would rather risk offending you by asking if you are okay and if you feel safe than by being too embarrassed not wanting to rock the boat,” Polzin said.

Polzin says look for a change in behavior, withdrawal from friends or even a change in the way someone dresses to hide bruises, marks or cuts.

The community will come together Sunday night at Chetek Weyerhaeuser High School to remember 17-year-old Natalie Turner, who was killed Friday night.

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