Woman's murder raises domestic violence concerns in Youngstown - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Woman's murder raises domestic violence concerns in Youngstown

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At a press conference Friday, just one day after the homicide of Elizabeth Stewart of Boardman, Compass Family & Community Services revealed its phones have been ringing off the hook.

"No one ever asks to be a victim of domestic violence.  No one asks to be in those situations," said Joe Caruso with Compass Family & Community Services.

Compass says events, like what unfolded on Thursday, often do one of three things: encourage victims of domestic violence to seek help, cause victims of domestic violence to be more withdrawn or trigger a trauma response in survivors of domestic violence.

"We want to make sure people know and understand that there are ways to help exit those situations," said Caruso.

Compass operates the Sojourner House, a shelter that welcomes domestic violence victims.  While it's currently at capacity, its staff can place people in need in other area shelters.

Compass says the most dangerous time for victims of domestic violence is when they try and to leave a relationship, which is why they encourage people to develop a safety plan.

"It is important that when they are deciding to leave, more victims are killed because individuals have lost that power and control over them, that they have a safety plan," said Melinda Gavins with Compass Family & Community Services.

Victims are also encouraged to file a police report and obtain a protection order.    While those are just pieces of paper, officer Kelly Jankowski says they do provide legal protection.

"With a violator of protection order charge on the first conviction it is a misdemeanor in the first degree and then it gets enhanced as a felony on the second violation.  So, that is very important," said officer Kelly Jankowski with the Youngstown Police Department.

Compass Family & Community Services has served thousands of people who are now living a life without violence.  They encourage people to visit their website or call 330-747-4040 for help.

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