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As the pandemic required people to shelter in place, some were forced to stay with their abusers—prompting a concerning surge in homicidal domestic violence cases.

In 2020, the Violence Policy Center ranked Wisconsin eighth in the US for men murdering women. 60 women were killed that year—most, by someone they knew. In just a single day that same year, domestic violence programs answered calls from more than 1,000 victims. 234 calls for help were unanswered due to lack of resources, according to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence

In 2021, 80 people died in Wisconsin due to domestic violence—a rate of approximately one death every 4.5 days, according to the Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report. 

But these unfortunate numbers aren’t unique to Wisconsin. A report by the National Commision on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice showed that during the pandemic and resulting lockdown, domestic violence reports increased by 8.1% nationwide.

Staying in an abusive relationship is common, and there are many reasons a person may feel trapped and unable to leave their abuser.  Some of those reasons include being afraid of the consequences, feeling ashamed, normalizing abuse, financial constraints, children, love, and much more. 

It’s important to know that there are resources available to help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a 24-hour, national, toll-free telephone hotline that provides information and help to victims of any age.

Wisconsin has countless domestic violence prevention and intervention service centers of its own across the state. The Sojourner Family Peace Center (SFPC), located in Milwaukee, is one example. It offers resources including an emergency shelter, support groups, help filing restraining orders, and—most of all— a sense of hope

How You Can Help

If you’re looking and able to get involved, here are three ways you can make a difference today:

Donate. Donations to the Sojourner Fund are the best way to help victims who feel they have no way out. Consider donating once, monthly, or hosting a fundraiser.

Purchase a gift from the Amazon Holiday Wish List. Order and ship holiday gifts directly to Sojourner. The items on this list will make the holidays brighter for survivors and their children who need services, shelter, and support during the holidays & beyond.

Sign up to sponsor a family. This year, SFPC’s Holiday Hope Program is matching interested gift donors with families. Fill out the Holiday Donor Interest Form to get matched with a family in need. 

Need help? Click here to find a domestic violence support group or donate to an organization near you.