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Calls increase to Willow Domestic Violence Center

October is Domestic Awareness Month and the Willow Domestic Violence Center on Friday put 2,000 purple flags on display, each flag representing about four calls to Willow’s Domestic Violence hotline last year.

Willow President and CEO Meaghan de Chateauvieux said the nearly 8,000 calls they received represents an 18% increase over the previous year.

``And each of these callers shares a harrowing story. Sometimes they're calling us from their bathroom or from the closet or from the car or hiding or from their workplace. And needing that support immediately from our counselors,” said de Chateauview.

De Chateauvieux said that overall, there’s an increased call for help from people right now, and there’s a need to double down to meet that demand.       

She said that prevention works, but Willow wasn’t able to reach as many people as needed in the past year, and with so many in crisis now, those efforts need to be ramped up.

Daniele Lyman-Torres, Commissioner of the City of Rochester’s department of Recreation and Human Services made a direct plea to parents, calling on them to talk to their children, and not to think that their children or young adult children aren’t capable of engaging in domestic violence.

`I'm a parent, I have this conversation. And I know that if one of my children engaged in this behavior, I would feel responsible. And I would feel responsible to doing something about it. Otherwise I'd be enabling that behavior,” said Lyman-Torres.

The Chair of the Rochester/Monroe County Domestic Violence Consortium, Alli O’Malley said that continuing to focus resources on domestic violence after it occurs is a losing proposition for everyone.

She said that a preventive framework must be adopted, instead.

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-FM 105.9/AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.