TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Every year, over 15,000 people in Tucson and Pima County call 911 to report domestic violence.
"We know that only about 1 in 10 cases even get reported. It's a humongous problem in this community," said Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse CEO, Ed Mercurio-Sakwa.
The Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse operates a 24/7 multilingual crisis hotline. At the height of the pandemic, around 14 calls were placed each day. According to Mercurio-Sakwa, the average number of calls in on the rise.
"We're actually seeing more calls into the hotline than ever before. We're now seeing about 25 calls everyday coming in. That's hundreds and hundreds more per year," said Mercurio-Sakwa.
This October, Emerge is honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month and wants the entire community to get involved.
"What we really need is a community change. We need the community to be there in support of people who are being victimized in these relationships, but we also need the community to be supportive of those who are being abusive. Not supportive of what they are doing, obviously, but supportive of their change," said Mercurio-Sakwa.
Emerge is hosting a donation drive to provide essential items to people leaving an abusive relationship. Donations can be dropped off at The Loft Cinema on Saturday, October 16 from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. and at Walmart in Oro Valley on Friday, October 29 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"It's an opportunity for people to contribute items. Certainly cash is always welcome too, but items that help us help other people start over," said Mercurio-Sakwa.
More than anything, Emerge wants to starts a conversation.
"We need to talk about it. We need to make sure that victims know that we, as a community, but also individual people in their lives, support them," said Mercurio-Sakwa.
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