TUCSON, Ariz. — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Pima County Sheriff's Department is handling more domestic violence cases than last year.
"There are one in four women who are going to experience domestic violence at some point in their lives, many men will as well. Its something that all of us can relate to in some way, and even if we don't know that we know somebody, we do with those kind of statistics," said Ed Mercurio-Sakwa, the CEO of Emerge!.
In 2018, PCSD reviewed 3,820 cases by the domestic violence unit. For this year, that number is estimated to be at 4,000.
"Its always going on. So when we see changes in numbers, its rarely about more or less domestic violence, as much as its about more or less people reaching out for help," said Mercurio-Sakwa.
Through its community partnerships, he said Emerge! is seeing that number of people reaching out for help increase.
But 9-1-1 calls are still high. Mercurio-Sakwa said, every year around 15,000 calls in Tucson and Pima County are made.
"That's just the tip of the iceberg, because only about one in 10 cases actually get reported out of the shame, out of the fear of retaliation if they were to report it, and also out of the fact that many forms of domestic violence are not illegal," said Mercurio-Sakwa.
Whether victims want to pursue criminal action if the incident involves law enforcement, resources like Emerge! Are available to help victims find their way to a safer life.
"And the reality is, even for those folks who's form of domestic violence is illegal and they could call law enforcement, there's often other barriers that make it so people don't necessarily want to go that route. And I think more importantly is that we know we can't arrest our way out of this problem either. This is about making sure people have the resources and the options available to find safety for themselves," said Mercurio-Sakwa.
The county is encouraging the community to "Paint Pima Purple" on Oct. 24.
For more information about the dynamics of domestic violence, the ways to help someone, or to get help, click here or call its 24/7 multi-lingual hotline at 520-795-4266.