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Domestic violence increasing & becoming more severe

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Domestic violence in the panhandle is increasing and becoming more severe according to area crisis centers.

Women, men and children have all been victims of domestic violence in the area. Police and crisis centers tell us they've seen cases increasing over the years and the severity is getting worse.

Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle Immigration Counselor Al Muñiz says, "More people. More women are coming and are saying what is happening at their homes. And how they are suffering."

Amarillo Police Department Corporal Jerry Neufeld says, "You will see everything from a very minor simple assault of pushing or shoving. Maybe even a slapping or a punching. All the way up unfortunately to a homicide."

In a matter of about a decade, there's been more than 25,000 cases of domestic violence in Amarillo according to police.

From 2009 to 2010 there were about 40 more cases. 2010 to 2011 an additional 40. And from 2011 to last year close to 100 more victims.

Muñiz says, "You will be surprised the amount of men that are coming to our office."

Family Support Services has as many as 25 victims of all ages at any given time, most of whom are women. They had around 1,000 crisis hotline calls last year, from people seeking information about domestic violence or help.

Amarillo's Family Support Services Crisis Services Coordinator Angie Stoval says, "When a woman or a victim of domestic violence is trying to leave that relationship, that is the most dangerous time. Most likely time that they will be killed."

An area crisis center in Deaf Smith County says they're also seeing an increase every year. Interim Executive Director Carol Robinson has worked in the domestic violence field for over 20 years.

She believes nowadays a lot of abuse has to do with the use of drugs like methamphetamine. Robinson says, "If they feel invincible because of the drug, then they're not going to think about the consequences."

She says the cases are also becoming more severe over the years. In the last five years, they've seen three deaths. That's including both women and men. Robinson says, "For a community this size, that's a lot."

If you're living through domestic violence right now, there is help available. Robinson says, "We help with housing, get them to a shelter, if they need it, immediately that night if we need to drive them somewhere."

Stoval says, "We do offer shelter, safe house, non-disclosed location where they can come and be safe. Go to work, go to school. "

If you need help, you can call:

Family Support Services Crisis Hotline at (806) 374-5433

Deaf Smith County Crisis Center Hotline at (806)-363-6727

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10. 

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