High Number of Domestic Homicides Leads Commonwealth's Attorney to Launch Domestic Violence Campaign

Monday, May 15, 2017

Commonwealth's Attorney Colin D. Stolle announces the launch of his office's Domestic Violence Awareness campaign today.  The campaign will focus on acknowledging obstacles to ending an abusive relationship, educating domestic violence victims about available resources, and encouraging them to leave volatile relationships and seek safety. 

In 2015 and 2016, approximately 25% of Virginia Beach homicides were domestic in nature. "This office has seen too many victims killed at the hands of a loved one," Stolle said.  "Abusers thrive off of exerting power and control, leaving their loved ones afraid to get out.  Too often this fear of escaping the home has resulted in serious injury or death." 

Domestic violence is any form of physical violence against a family or household member, punishable by up to 12 months in jail for the first offense.  It is often between intimate partners, but can include abuse of children and parents.  Domestic violence can impact anyone, regardless of age, socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, or educational considerations. 

Although Commonwealth's Attorney's in Virginia are not statutorily required or funded to prosecute misdemeanor domestic violence cases, the Virginia Beach Office has made domestic violence prosecution a priority for years.  In recent years, the Office has prosecuted more than 1,500 domestic violence cases per year.  Victims are often reluctant to come forward and report abuse and often struggle with participating in the prosecution of their loved one.  Although there are multiple challenges involved in escaping a volatile relationship, Stolle wants the community to understand that there are resources available to help, regardless of the situation. 

With the assistance of Virginia Beach's Multimedia Services division, Stolle's office created a public service announcement on domestic violence which depicts a few of the challenges domestic violence victims face. To view the 30-second PSA, click here.  It will air on local television as well as in Virginia Beach movie theaters. 

Victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, or human trafficking should call the Samaritan House Crisis Response Hotline at (757) 430-2120.  This hotline is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Those who are experiencing a medical emergency or are in immediate danger should always call 911. For more information about resources available to victims of domestic violence or learn how to help them, visit the Samaritan House website.   

"Domestic violence is a very real problem happening in our community every day.  The number of domestic related homicides in our city is alarming, and it is important that the public know there are ways out before it reaches that point," Stolle said.

For more information on this initiative, contact Public Information Officer Macie Allen.