Domestic violence cases increasing in Georgia and Alabama

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:03 PM CDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Domestic violence cases have increased dramatically since the pandemic. Experts say it’s up about 30%, both around the globe and here at home. Since Friday, two violent incidents involving gunfire contained elements of domestic violence, with one man being shot to death in Lee county, Alabama.

Experts say many victims are often afraid or embarrassed to report they’ve been abused. But, as these forms of abuse often turn deadly, they encourage more people to speak up before it’s too late.

Within the past two to three weeks, multiple people across Georgia and Alabama have been arrested and charged in domestic violence-related cases.

“A lot of times domestic violence starts out as verbal abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and then it starts to increase to threats to physical violence,” said Zenene Humphrey-Davis, Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Intervention Center.

Friday, a LaGrange husband was shot by his wife and later arrested for violating the Family Violence Act. LaGrange police say the shooting was justified, saying Charles Shields’ wife Queneshia shot him in self-defense after he allegedly assaulted her.

Saturday, 29-year-old Vonquetta Levett was arrested in Loachapoka and charged with manslaughter concerning the death of 23-year-old Elisha Benjamin. Investigators say Levett’s arrest stems from an argument that eventually escalated.

“So for 2021 law enforcement agencies that are in our immediate area -- and when I say that, I mean like the surrounding counties of Lee County and other counties -- had approximately it was like over three thousand calls,” said Humphrey-Davis.

She says along with an increase in gun violence-related cases, they’ve also noticed a spike in cases involving arson.

“29% of men in Alabama alone experienced some form of intimate partner violence, physical violence actually,” said Humphrey-Davis.

In a recent interview with News Leader 9, Hope Harbour’s Executive Director Lindsey Reis talked about those stats for victims in Georgia.

“1 in 4 women are victims of Domestic Violence, and 1 in 7 men are victims of domestic violence also. Domestic violence does not discriminate in any shape, form or fashion,” said Reis.

Hope Harbour and the Domestic Violence Intervention Center have a 24-hour crisis hotline, and emergency shelter and offer services like legal advice, child advocacy, case management and more.

The hotline for the Domestic Violence Intervention Center is 334-749-1515. Hope Harbour’s crisis hotline is 706-324-3850.