Domestic violence: A term being heard unfortunately too often.
"Domestic violence is about power and control. When a victim is looking to leave, they are looking to retain control. That means the perpetrator is losing control," explained Caitlin Powalski, director of Advocate Department at Crisis Services.
It’s a country-wide issue. Powalski explained that people didn't always talk about it or it was kept behind closed doors. Now, it’s coming into the open.
"We, on average, see approximately 900 survivors of domestic violence in Erie County. People reach out on hotlines and other service providers," said Powalski.
This past Wednesday, police say 43-year-old Keith Sparks followed 38-year-old Mallicia Tipps into the Sears at McKinley Mall and stabbed her to death.
Police say it wasn’t random.
"They had a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship at one time. As far as the motive, I don't know," explained Hamburg Police Chief Greg Wickett.
For those searching for help in a domestic violence situation and might not want to call 911, Crisis Services in Buffalo is another option. With a 24-hour hotline for domestic, sexual, and family abuse cases, Powalski explains someone will always be there to answer.
"When you call the hotline, you can expect care from someone who is going to believe you and get basic info," said Powalski.
Powalski says it can be scary and seem dangerous to leave a situation; especially when your loved one is your abuser.
"We offer assistance through medical, legal criminal justice processes, court advocacy, etc. and we work one-on-one with crisis intervention and to increase their safety," she explained.
To learn more about Crisis Services, you can visit their website or look up Crisis Services on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Their 24-hour hotline is 716-834-3131.