Domestic violence help available amid pandemic
On Tuesday, April 28, the Central Oregonian reported a Florida murder. "Nathan White, 34, is accused of strangling his girlfriend and former Prineville resident Darcie Mistal, 45, at a home in Daytona. Beach where they were temporarily living with other roommates. Mistal was born in Bend and attended Crook County schools until age 17."
One in four women will experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime, and of those, up to 68 percent will suffer near-fatal strangulation at the hands of their partner.
What is "near-fatal" strangulation?
According to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, "The inability to breathe is one of the most terrifying events a person can endure. The unique nature of nonfatal strangulation assault makes it a particularly effective tool of coercive control. With non-fatal strangulation, it is possible to bring someone to the point of believing death is imminent, but then stop, either before or immediately after they lose consciousness. In doing so, the strangler conveys a very powerful and credible threat of imminent death which is an essential element of establishing and maintaining coercive control."
Seventy-percent of strangled women believed they were going to die.
According to a 2008 study, "women who have been subject to a non-fatal strangulation incident were approximately 700 percent more likely to be the victim of homicide than other domestic violence victims."
In 2011, Saving Grace embarked upon an innovative protocol to address the rising number of serious injuries and homicides attributed to domestic violence. The Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) is an evidenced-based strategy designed to prevent domestic violence homicides, serious injury, and re-assault by encouraging more victims to use the shelter, counseling, advocacy, and support services of domestic violence programs.
"We've got a lot of people in high-risk situations. Many survivors have nowhere to go," said Saving Grace LAP coordinator Emily. "Those who have friends or family they could have stayed before, now can't because of fears of spreading or catching the coronavirus."
Law Enforcement Officers from Bend and Redmond police departments and Deschutes County Sheriffs Office who respond to a "domestic" emergency calls are able to screen the survivor of the intimate partner relationship. This screening process may result in the survivor scoring as "high-danger" — i.e. at high-risk of serious injury or homicide. Survivors are encouraged to call our Saving Grace LAP line for support and safety planning services.
For those who are isolated during this ongoing pandemic and in danger, we're here for you. If you're even just unsure if you're in a healthy relationship and just want to talk to someone, our 24-Hour Helpline is available for you.
Saving Grace will be launching an anonymous and confidential Chatline on Monday, May 18 for those who are not safe to call our Helpline. If you need help, call our 24-Hour Helpline: 541-389-7021. If you are in immediate danger, or are being threatened by someone in your home, call 911.
Cassi MacQueen is the executive director of Saving Grace. She can be reached at 541-382-9227.
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