This is second story in a two-part series on domestic violence.

Domestic violence remains a common tragedy effecting one in four women and one in seven men. Studies suggest that up to 10,000 children witness some type of physical violence annually.

Chances are good that almost everyone is affected by domestic violence. They know a victim, they have violence in their home or a family member or friend is in law enforcement and has to deal with the violence.

To help educate, protect and empower victims, there are dedicated professionals and volunteers out there to provide those measures. Locally there are resources available for victims, including organizations such as Crime Victim Services, the YWCA in Van Wert and Crossroads Crisis Center in Lima and others. There are also numerous educational opportunities on the internet that victims and advocates can access.

Christel Keller is the executive director of Crossroads Crisis Center in Lima.

“The domestic violence program includes confidential shelter, court advocacy, educational and support groups, case management, counseling and follow up,” she explained.

Crossroads has 11 beds and right now they are filled. Keller said they are often trying to find funding so they can have more rooms but they are hampered by limited resources.

While Keller is unable to state that domestic violence has increased, she said they do serve more people every year. That, she said, could be attributed to increased awareness of the availability of the center to victims. That their educational outreach has made enabled victims to “feel more comfortable to call the center.”

While Crossroads shelter is full right now and they refer victims to other shelters, the organization strives to keep victims safe by providing a cot and utilizing couches.

“We don’t want to ever turn away someone that’s not safe,” she said.

She added that many times, they are a familiar face(s).

“It’s common for Crossroads to see the same victims over and over. There are many dynamics in domestic violence situations that make a victim return to their abuser. The average is seven or eight times a victim may return before they make the final break,” she said.

Some of those dynamics include concerns they may not be able to support themselves and children, guilt feelings and feelings it is all their fault and worst of all, the legitimate fear that the abuser will kill them. Leaving is the act that often puts an abuser over the edge. Statistics bear out that leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous part of such a relationship.

“We encourage the community to learn about these dynamics so we can help them,” Keller explained.

In Van Wert, Jamie Evans, director of housing for the YWCA, said their program is open to any victim, including men, women and those of any sexual orientation. The Y also shelters family units. The program has been active for almost five years.

“Those that seek the Y’s services can get shelter for up to a year and help accessing social services and therapy, all free of cost,” she explained. “The Y also offers court advocacy. In 2017, the program assisted around 75 people, which includes people designated as pass through.”

For more information or to seek help with a domestic violence situation, visit crossroadscrisiscenter.com; or odvn.org/shelter-referral-listings/ywca-of-van-wert-county.

Local law enforcement agencies can also help find a crime victim services agency.