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Empower victims of domestic violence

Our Opinion
Laura Berry and Greg Zoeller, Guest Writers

In Indiana last year, 63,671 Hoosiers called domestic violence crisis lines, 10,531 women and children were housed in domestic violence shelters and 67 people died from an act of domestic violence in our state.
These tragic statistics remind us that raising awareness of these crimes and encouraging victims to seek help is critical not just during Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, but all year round. Too many Hoosiers are being victimized and many of them are suffering silently. We must spread the word that help is available and empower victims to end the cycle of abuse.
Domestic violence is usually thought of as physical abuse, but it can also be financial, emotional and sexual abuse. Domestic violence can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. The roots of domestic violence run deep, cutting across social, economic, religious and cultural boundaries. Sadly, domestic violence has been ingrained in our society through social norms that tolerate or encourage these forms of abuse.
All too often, victims feel trapped or ashamed and do not seek the help they need. This inaction affects not only them, but their children and other family members who witness this violence and suffer trauma of their own.
It also sends a message to younger generations that this behavior is normal or acceptable, and the cycle continues.
Our message to victims is simple: ‘You are not alone and help is available.’
There are more than 150 service providers across Indiana that can assist domestic violence victims, and help is only a phone call away. Victims can call the statewide crisis hotline 1-800-332-7385 and get connected with help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A list of services is also available at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website,
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office also offers help for victims. Domestic violence victims can obtain the assistance of the Hope Card program, which summarizes court protective order details on a laminated card for a victim to provide quickly to law enforcement. Victims also can participate in the Address Confidentiality program that provides a secure mailing location where victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking can receive their mail to ensure their perpetrators do not discover a new street address. More information about these resources can be found at under the ‘Victims Services’ tab.
We all have a responsibility to help stop domestic violence. Pay attention to those around you and, if you believe someone is being threatened or in danger, speak up. Call the 24-hour statewide hotline at 1-800-332-7385 or visit the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence website at for resources. Teach young people about healthy relationship behaviors such as honesty, accountability and negotiation.
We do have the power to end domestic violence. We encourage every person to speak up for victims, and seek help if you are a victim.
If you are an abuser, there are many resources available that will help you change behavior patterns and end this destructive cycle. Know that acts of violence won’t be tolerated.
There is a way out of domestic violence’s destructive cycle for everyone.
For information about local services, please contact the Hoosier Hills PACT crisis line at 1-888-883-1959.
Editor’s note: Laura Berry is the executive director for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Greg Zoeller is the Indiana Attorney General and board member of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault.