While domestic violence continues to be an issue in Central New York, the group that puts out the annual report to the community on domestic and sexual violence, found one bright spot in the stats. But that bright spot didn't last long.
When the Syracuse area domestic and sexual violence coalition put together the stats for the annual report on October 20th, there was one figure that seemed to be missing. "What was wonderful is that we hadn't had a domestic violence homicide this year," said Colleen O'Brien, Program Services Coordinator at Vera House. "Generally speaking, about 25% of Onondaga County's homicides are domestic violence-related." But O'Brien says that all changed the next day, when a Syracuse woman was accused of stabbing to death her boyfriend on Shonnard St. and police say the couple had a history of domestic violence. O'Brien says cases of violence against men are not uncommon. "We're housing men at our shelter, and men are being killed in our community because of domestic violence," said O'Brien. Syracuse Police on average continue to investigate over 10-thousand domestic calls a year and the number of arrests after those alls has been rising steadily since 2006. The number of calls to Vera House's Crisis and Support hotline has also climbed from 46-hundred in 2005 to more than 54-hundred last year. But O'Brien says one of the biggest crises right now when it comes to domestic and sexual violence is the lack of safe affordable housing. She finds more shelters that have no room and people in them staying longer, because they have nowhere else to go.