Domestic violence is on the rise, and representatives from the Women’s Rural Advocacy Program (WRAP) talked about the most recent statistics with members of the Redwood County Board of Commissioners Tuesday in conjunction with its adoption of a resolution proclaiming October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The recent shooting in Granite Falls demonstrates what officials working with domestic violence have been seeing recently.
Domestic violence is on the rise. Representatives from the Women’s Rural Advocacy Program (WRAP) talked about the most recent statistics with members of the Redwood County Board of Commissioners Tuesday in conjunction with its adoption of a resolution proclaiming October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
According to statistics provided by WRAP, there were 12 women killed in Minnesota in 2012 as a result of domestic violence with one man also killed.
That number for 2013 has increased dramatically, as there have already been 32 cases of domestic violence related deaths in the state, with the most recent data not including the final three months of the year.
What makes the issue more frustrating for those working to help victims of domestic violence, such as WRAP, is the fact that it saw a 45 percent cut in its funding from the federal Office of Justice Programs.
That cut to WRAP funding meant having to close offices in Redwood and Yellow Medicine counties in an effort to save funds it did receive for the resources and services those victims need when abuse occurs.
WRAP advocates in the Redwood and Yellow Medi-cine counties area are now considered “mobile,” which means they are providing the same services they have always offered on the go.
Now, however, meetings take place in other “safe” locations as they are available. It also means getting in contact with those advocates becomes more of a challenge for those who are seeking assistance.
Is it a coincidence that the increase in domestic violence occurrences corresponds with the funding cuts to programs, such as WRAP and others, including the New Horizons Crisis Cen-ter? The answer to that question is yet to be seen.
Statistics show the last year domestic violence deaths were as high in Minnesota was in 2000. That year Minnesota had 40 domestic violence related deaths, and it looks as if that number could again be reached in 2013.
No one wants to see that.
In 2012, WRAP served 114 people in Redwood County and 405 in the counties it serves, including Yell-ow Medicine, Lincoln and Lyon counties.
In addition to receiving funds from the federal government, WRAP benefits from donations from the United Way as well as from individuals and businesses.
Steven Collins, Red-wood County attorney, said the county’s lack of a victim’s advocate makes the work of groups, such as WRAP extremely valuable.
“We really depend on WRAP and New Horizons,” said Collins, adding he thinks it is shameful their funding has been cut. “You provide such an important service to the area.”
Collins agreed do-mestic violence incidents are on the rise, and he added the level of violence also seems to be elevated. There are more life-threatening injuries occurring.
He said Redwood County has a problem and recognizes WRAP and groups like it as a part of the solution.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the WRAP crisis line at (507) 637-3040.