VAN WERT – Brian Ellerbrock, chief deputy for the Van Wert County Sheriff department, recently spoke out with advice for those who are experiencing or who are concerned that their neighbors, friends or family members might be experiencing some form of domestic violence.

“If you hear sounds of breaking and screaming at your neighbors or coming from someone’s home, it is a good idea to call local law enforcement,” said Ellerbrock. “The concern is, ‘how much is this going to elevate’ and ‘how much danger can this escalate into?”

Ellerbrock said that if you having a cup of coffee with an individual who may be telling you about abuse or violence, the best thing to do is to get that person to call for help or to arrange some type of counseling or ways to address their problems.

“Be that friend. Talk to them in confidence. Let them know that you stand behind them,” said Ellerbrock. “Keep encouraging them. These things are ongoing and they are going to need your consistent support.”

Ellerbrock said that if you have concerns about bruises or injuries to children, or other reason to believe that child is being abused, you can always call the Department of Children’s Services anonymously or the Sheriff Department.

“Sometimes we have to do our own investigative work as to the type of bruises we think we are looking at,” said Ellerbrock. “Are these childhood bruises or do they appear to be victims of abuse?”

In situations where individuals feel trapped in their own abuse, especially physically, Ellerbrock said that it is better to let the situation cool off rather than add tension to it.

“Once the abuser leaves or you feel the liberty to make a call, then call for help,” observed Ellerbrock. “Everyone has his or her way of cooling off. It often depends on how serious the trigger seems. Did the other spouse cheat? What brought this about in the first place?

“Don’t simply ignore it,” continued Ellerbrock. “It’s always going to get worse. The abuser tends to become more dangerous over time.”

Ellerbrock said that it’s important to make their situation known.

“There are several different places to put up an individual who feels endangered by abuse,” added Ellerbrock. “We have the House of Transportation or YWCA. We can always get you someplace where you will be safe.”