When the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department is called to an incident of domestic violence, Mary DeLella is there.
DeLella goes to crime scenes to reach out to victims of domestic violence as a representative of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Victim and Witness Assistance Team.
She helps the victim or victims understand what resources are available to them in the moment and how they can take the next step to leave a dangerous situation.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office Victim Assistance team is available all the time: 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year.
"We are a unique service,” she said. “We are embedded right within the sheriff’s department, we work with victims of all crimes, of all ages, and we will help from the onset of the crime or sometimes even prior to a report being taken all the way through post release or until a victim no longer feels they need our services or our supports any longer."
In Monroe County alone, there were 4,867 reports of domestic violence in 2017. Two highly publicized cases include news this week that authorities in Wayne County are considering the murders of Selena Hidalgo-Calderon and her baby, Owen, domestic violence cases.
Last week, police said Terrell Blake Sr. shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and her friend before shooting his son during a wild rampage and police chase in Rochester. Police are calling this brutal incident a domestic and a targeted crime.
"Our main focus there is to help the victims at the scene,” she said. She’ll explain options to the victim or victims, including assistance with housing, child care and finances.
While deputies and investigators secure a crime scene, DeLella focuses solely on the victim. She provides emotional and educational support along with letting those coping with a crime know what they can expect next.
DeLella discusses safety plans, shelters and preparing a "pack and go" bag so they have a plan. “Sometimes when you have a plan, it’s a little easier to leave," she said.
Each situation and victim are different. "There’s no cookie-cutter approach,” DeLella said. “We have to take it as the victims want us to take it, so we travel at their speed....Our role is to get a victim from victimization mode to survivor mode."