WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Wichita Falls Police Department said domestic violence calls have spiked, not just in the Wichita Falls area, but across the nation.
First Step, Inc., an organization locally that provides free domestic violence and sexual assault services said they expected this about an 11% increase and were prepared.
“I’m an overcomer,” domestic violence survivor Kerrie Wallace said. “I’ve been through a lot, and I can rise above that.”
Wallace took that first step. She is a domestic violence survivor, saved by someone who made a call.
“His officer picked me up and put me and my kids, put us in a hotel and then brought us to First Step,” Wallace said. “It was everything, he saved me and my kids, he removed us from that situation where this person had threatened to kill me and got us away from it and I have not looked back.”
Shelter-in-place is in order to decrease the spread, but First Step Executive Director Michelle Turnbow said an increase in domestic violence calls means those who need to get out, are stuck in.
“We’re asking to stay home where it’s safe for us, but home is not always safe for everyone and not only is that the case but most victims will leave when their abuser is at work or out and so we’ve also taken that away from them,” Turnbow said.
WFPD said they’ll investigate these situations and essentially make an arrest while working with the victim.
“We just want to help as much as possible, even if they call us, we can get them set with somebody who may be able to help,” Sgt. Charlie Eipper said.
Turnbow worked in a similar capacity in North Carolina, with hurricanes there. So, she knew the current situation could also bring an increase in domestic violence.
“First Step is still here, about six weeks prior we started to put together that to know that we were likely to have an increase and we want to be prepared for that so we went and got cots and extra supplies,” Turnbow said.
Turnbow said if you suspect something is going on, make the call and Wallace who was saved a year ago said making the call for yourself is courageous, even if it means baby steps.
“It could be the only we get help to that victim,” Turnbow said.
“If you can call and wait two more seconds, and then hang up again and then you can keep calling don’t stop calling, get the help that you feel like you need, because it’s worth it, if you feel worthless, it’s worth it to get help,” Wallace said.
First Step’s offices are closed right now, but they are still offering all of their services, just in a different way.
Click here for information on First Step, Inc.
The hotline number is 1-800-658-2683.