Officials: "Silence Kills" When Witnessing Domestic Violence - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Officials: "Silence Kills" When Witnessing Domestic Violence

Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

Just last year, Midland and Odessa saw over 4,000 domestic violence cases. Countless others go unreported.

With October being deemed as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, advocates and law enforcement want to remind the public that silence does kill.

Just days ago, a Midland mother was found dead by her two children. Officials say domestic violence likely played a role.

In fact, police say domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous to respond to.

"When you hear that noise from the apartment next door, when you know something is going on with a neighbor because of what you see; the bruise on the face or the noise from the backyard, please call the police," Chief of Police for the Odessa Police Department, Timothy Burton, said.

Silence is what kills.

The Permian Basin is no exception to the tragic consequences of domestic violence.

Chief Burton says domestic disturbance calls are some of the most dangerous officers respond to.

"It is highly emotional and very unpredictable. Anything we can do to mitigate that violence and to teach people how to behave with each other appropriately and in a non-violent way is something we absolutely must do," Burton said.

In many cases, the victim might not reach out in fear of retaliation, or in fear of the worst.

Domestic violence advocates say when a victim leaves the relationship, that's when the partner is likely to strike the hardest.

"That's when 70% of the murders occur. So it's really easy for us to stand back and say, 'Why didn't she just leave?' But women know that that is the time when they are most likely to be murdered," Executive Director of The Crisis Center, Karen Hildebrand, said.

Experts say even if the children aren't abused, the violence stays with them.

"The biggest indicator of whether a child grows up to be a batterer or accepts battering as part of their lifestyle is whether they witnessed abuse as a child. Not whether they were abused, but whether they just witnessed it," Hildebrand said.

If you notice any red flags, like intense jealousy or even verbal abuse, report it. You could save someone's life.

"The sooner we're able to intervene, the greater the chances are we'll prevent the ultimate tragedy, which is the death of a human being," Burton said.

If you or anyone you know would like help from The Crisis Center or Safe Place go to News Links. 

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