Domestic violence calls are up to a regional crisis center, as are domestic violence cases in Hamilton County courts. So the crisis center, with city and county officials, is about to unleash more help for those who need it.
Women Helping Women officials said the agency for victims experiencing gender-based abuse will join county, Cincinnati and law enforcement officials to announce Monday an expansion of the Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team, a police-crisis center partnership that provides immediate, trauma-informed assistance to victims. The Dvert team also continues to wrap services around victims as they deal with the fallout of a domestic violence incident.
The nationally recognized Dvert initiative will be expanded to all 49 jurisdictions in Hamilton County, the nonprofit Women Helping Women announced Wednesday. It was launched in 2018 in partnership with Cincinnati Police Department and had grown to 20 jurisdictions in Hamilton County.
The expansion will be funded with city and county support and investment of public and private dollars, the organization said.
Women Helping Women President and CEO Kristin Shrimplin said her organization has been inundated with requests for help this year. The agency, which provides confidential survivor services, is planning the news conference at 10 a.m. Monday at Smale Riverfront Park with Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Blue Ash officials and police and sheriff's leaders. There, they will outline the impact of the team and efforts to strategically grow it.
"What we've been saying for about 30-plus months is just continued lethality indicators and a lot of violence," Shrimplin said in an email responding to The Enquirer on Wednesday. "And our increases in numbers, really, I feel are reflective of what we're seeing in the community. Even our court advocacy is up 20% right now."
Hamilton County court records show there have been more domestic violence cases this year than in the past two years. Comparing year-to-date data, there has been an 11.6% increase in cases over 2020 and a 7.4% increase over 2021, an Enquirer analysis of court records shows.
The Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team, a partnership with Cincinnati police and Women Helping Women, responds to hundreds of calls every year. In October 2021, The Enquirer outlined its work and impact in a special report about domestic violence, Beyond the Bruises.
The COVID-19 pandemic placed extreme pressures on people with domestic abuse in 2020 during the lockdowns. In the Cincinnati region, agencies that help children and adults with abusive situations encouraged the public to report any suspicions of violence. Shrimplin said more people were calling the crisis center's hotline, and more of those calls were about brutal assaults that could be omens of lethal violence.
In 2020, Shrimplin told The Enquirer, "COVID doesn't cause gender-based violence. Economic stress doesn't cause gender violence. It just adds fuel to the fire."
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Crisis center adding diversion teams surge in domestic violence