Victims of domestic violence encouraged to seek help following deadly shootings

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — There have been two deadly domestic shootings within 24 hours of each other in Hampton Roads.

The shootings highlight the reality of domestic violence, but advocates are reminding the community – there is a way out.

Samaritan House in Virginia Beach offers shelter and services to anyone who’s a victim of domestic violence.

The non-profit said these tragedies are shedding light on a problem that happens often in our community, but help is just a phone call away.

MORE: Hampton man charged with killing ex-girlfriend in Newport News

It’s an issue that happens often but it doesn’t always make the news.

“Domestic violence is a situation that we’ve got a get a grasp on in this community, in our state,” said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew. “Domestic violence is real and it affects so many lives.” 

According to the Samaritan House, 30% of homicides in the state of Virginia are a result of domestic violence.

“It just makes us so sad to know that someone could’ve reached out and received services,” said Executive Director Robin Gauthier.

We’re told Samaritan House gets thousands of calls for help each year on their crisis hotline. Gauthier said the most dangerous time for a victim is when he or she leaves the relationship.

“We have 70 beds for victims of violence and we are full almost every night,” Gauthier said. “We have to actually use hotels when our shelter is completely full and we had to do that last year to the tune of $39,000.”

Samaritan House wants everyone to recognize the signs of domestic violence.

“It starts out as emotional abuse. It could turn into financial abuse and then physical abuse,” Gauthier said. “If they’re controlling where you go and where you work.”

Samaritan House wants victims to know there are options.

“We provide emergency shelter, permanent housing programs, children’s services. If people try to go to the courthouse to try to get protective orders, we’re there,” Gauthier said.

With one life gone and another forever affected, the non-profit hopes these stories will give other victims who haven’t made headlines the courage to seek help.

“Just get in touch. There’s so many people out here that want to help,” Gauthier said.

To contact Samaritan House’s 24-hour Crisis Hotline, call 757-251-0144.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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