The Knoxville Salvation Army is shedding new light on domestic violence, releasing new numbers of reported incidents.
The group found reported cases of domestic violence rose significantly from this time last year, with 59 percent more women entering the shelter since 2017.
“If you’re looking at the statistics only, you might think the rate of domestic violence cases are going up,” Donna Wright, social services director at the Salvation Army, said. “But you can also look at it as more people reporting domestic violence and people aren’t as apprehensive as they were in the past.”
Despite the alarming spike, Wright said the numbers reflect a positive shift.
“It tells me that people are becoming more aware of the resources that are in the community that can help them break the cycle of domestic violence,” she said.
More reports of violence, Wright pointed out, does not necessarily mean more incidents.
But instead, it suggests increased awareness of the available help out there and decreased social stigma that often prevents victims from reporting bad behavior.
“Fear often stops people from coming forward,” Wright said. “I believe there are more women experiencing domestic violence that have still not come forward.”
A trend, that if continued, could encourage even more victims to seek out support and put an end to their trauma.
“The first step in breaking the cycle of domestic violence is to seek help and accept that help when it comes,” Wright said.