BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Domestic violence impacts many Kern County residents, but with resources, prevention and checking on loved ones, those on the frontlines say incidents could decrease here in Kern.
“Domestic Violence has no face, it can affect anyone and everyone, we really quantify it and talk about it as intimate partner violence, it can be man to man, it can be man on woman, woman on man,” said the Open-Door Network’s Lauren Skidmore.
Skidmore is on the frontlines of domestic violence prevention, working to help victims and working in partnership with law enforcement to help with domestic violence engagement after an incident of violence. She believes that checking up on those around you makes all the difference.
“A friendly and kind inquiry into their life can sometimes change their life,” said Skidmore.
According to the Bakersfield Police Department, there were 8,202 domestic calls to police this year, not including October. With 668 misdemeanor domestic violence arrest charges and 377 felony domestic violence arrest charges this year.
Though domestic violence calls are trending downward, BPD Sgt. Andrew Tipton said the number of arrests is still increasing.
“It is a repetitive thing that can happen and there’s a cycle of violence people who are involved in domestic violence will have repeat incidents where they’ll have one and then they’ll get better and they’ll get back in the relationship, work it out and something else happens, and it happens again,” said Tipton.
When that cycle of domestic violence does happen, Founder of Helping Us, a non-profit that helps victims of violence and human trafficking, Faith Heath, shares that many victims isolate themselves.
“They will draw back they will refrain from relationships, and talking to others, because they might be ashamed, so once we see someone acting out of character, personality shifts or changes, we want to start reaching out, or talking, or even just listening and being that support that they need,” said Heath.
This is why Skidmore shares that it is important to be aware of the issue and find resources if you need help.
“A lot of times in relationships that are volatile is they are both having some type of violence on one another because it’s either a reactionary situation or your so used to the situation that your caught up in it, but no relationship should ever come down to violence,” said Skidmore.
For help, call the Open-Door Network’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline at 661-327-1091, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. You can also find more resources here.