The Lucas County Domestic Violence Task Force is on a mission to get people talking.
It’s to get victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, bystanders, and even children talking, and to keep talking.
The conversation’s starting with a national “No More” campaign, which seeks to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
It’s important for everyone to learn the resources available in the community as well as to become more aware of the topics in general, Lisa McDuffie, president and CEO of the YWCA, announced during a news conference launching the campaign Wednesday.
Fliers will be posted, public service announcements and radio advertisements will be aired, and conversations will be taking place throughout October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“This is a message that needs to continue. Over time, you may notice,” Ms. McDuf- fie said.
The messages are in part about breaking down a stigma attached to domestic violence and sexual assault, she said.
“We’re encouraging people not to turn away,” Ms. Mc- Duffie said.
Community leaders also plan to speak to students at the University of Toledo and students at Toledo Public Schools regarding healthy relationships.
Toledo police continue to respond to a large number of domestic violence-related incidents, Toledo police Chief George Kral said.
Of the department’s more than 213,000 calls for service last year, 14,903 were domestic violence-related, or 7 percent, the chief said.
This year, there have been 11,589 domestic violence-related calls. Chief Kral anticipates the department’s domestic violence-related calls will be over 15,000 this year, he said Wednesday.
In 2015, the police department handled four homicides directly related to domestic homicide or by an intimate partner, Chief Kral said. Last year, there were 11 such homicides, he said.
“Last year was a horrific year for domestic violence homicides,” Chief Kral said. “Eleven murders directly related to domestic homicides or intimate partners. It even touched the police department more than it normally does; we had one of our dispatchers murdered by her husband.”
So far this year, there has been one domestic violence-related homicide handled by Toledo police.
“One death that has happened already this year is one death too many,” said Ms. McDuffie, who is also the chairman of the local “No More” campaign. “We can stop it and end the statistic right there.”
Art Jones, whose daughter was killed 24 years ago during a domestic violence-related incident, helped spur the idea behind the local campaign.
“Emotional really,” Mr. Jones said about how he was feeling Wednesday. “I’m glad that we’re going to help the community. This ‘No More’ campaign means we’re going to be on the radio and television and talking about this issue.
“People see it; they can pick up the fact that it’s a great campaign and they don’t have to suffer in silence anymore,” he added.
To reach the Domestic Violence Hotline, phone 1-888-341-7386. The Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached at 1-866-557-7273, and the Human Trafficking Hotline is at 1-888-373-7888.
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