It's an extremely sensitive subject, and we'll never really know how many victims are out there.
But we do know there are thousands of 911 calls in Ada County related to domestic and child abuse each and every year.
Many of those calls end up as actual reports, and eventually charges. That's largely thanks to agencies in our community coming together to help victims.
At Faces of Hope Victim Center, victims of abuse and assault receive an immediate safety net of services amid crisis. Law enforcement will often bring people there who have just gone through a horrendous experience.
Faces says they've seen an uptick in child abuse cases with certain types of domestic violence reports on the rise, too.
"Everything is here. So somebody who comes here can report here, law enforcement can take the report here, we can provide victim services here, we can give counseling here," FACES Chief Operating Officer and Ada County Prosecutor's Office special crimes unit chief, Jean Fisher, said.
"I also believe that getting the FACES center up and running and having a place where victims are able to go and to be able to do those interviews in that environment allows us to actually collect a lot more information than we were able to do in the past," Boise Police Chief Bill Bones told KTVB.
Faces provides on-call medical services and forensic exams, and crisis counseling. Boise Police Department's Special Victims Unit and one designated domestic violence officer are housed there, as well as a legal clinic.
"Because we have all the wraparound services here, when victims come in we're able to help them with protection orders," Fisher said.
That's a critical tool in helping keep victims safe, with protection order violations enhanced by the Legislature's 2016 stalking law change.
"One of the biggest trends that we have are the violation of protection orders, which have also then resulted in new felony stalking charges," Fisher said. "More people can get protection orders outside of the domestic violence relationship now."
Fisher said the prosecutor's office has seen more than a 300 percent increase in stalking charges in the last year alone.
Reports and calls for service to the Boise Police Department show stalking reports have increased steadily over the last few years, with protection order violations jumping about 51 percent between 2015 and 2016.
The Women's and Children's Alliance - which provides long-term shelter and services - has seen a jump in calls to their court advocate team because of it. WCA executive director Beatrice Black says they saw a huge jump in calls about 18 months ago when the statutes changed in terms of stalking measures.
"These are individuals who want to go file for a civil protection order because they are feeling threatened and unsafe," Black said. "I think the more tools our law enforcement and our prosecutors have, that is really helping a lot," WCA Executive Director Beatrice Black said.
Reports of strangulation are on the rise, too.
"Thirty percent of clients into our shelter last calendar year they said the last form of violence they endured was attempted strangulation. And attempted strangulation is a huge indicator of potential lethality," Black said. "We've come a long way in terms of being able to identify that."
Also increasing: reports of domestic violence with a child present.
Chief Bones says the department has a stronger focus on crimes like strangulation and violence when children are present, with additional training and resources. In the City of Boise, that was up 31 percent between 2015 and 2016.
"I think they're focusing on that more because they are really realizing the significance of the kids in the home seeing it," Fisher said.
Fisher tells KTVB the 'CARES' department at faces has seen a pretty big uptick in child abuse patients.
"When it comes to child abuse and sexual abuse those cases I think their prevalence is higher," she said. "I think population is a big part of it."
Overall, Bones says awareness and the willingness to report is growing.
"We're seeing roughly the same amount of offenders and same amount of victims but we're able to charge more serious and additional charges around those crimes because I believe we're doing a better job of investigating those this last decade," Chief Bones said. "Our calls for service have remained relatively steady over the last few years. But the amount of work we put into those cases, having a dedicated domestic violence officer, creating a presence at Faces, increasing the number of officers and detectives that we have stationed at that location and working in better partnership with groups like WCA and forensic nurses working at the scene has allowed us to get into those charges that were always existing and maybe we weren't always finding. And the ability to charge those and take those to court, and hold the person accountable."
Police and prosecutors say they have more tools in their toolbox, and there are stronger partnerships between the services in our community.
"As a result of that grounding and really empowering [victims] to do some things for themselves, they're sticking with their cases longer, we're getting better information so when it does go to court - in our office for a period of time, for two years - we never lost a single felony domestic violence case. And that is huge," Fisher said. "Because we are doing these cases much, much more thoroughly, we are far more vested in the big picture of seeing somebody actually get healthy and hold somebody accountable that we're getting to see it on both ends."
"If we can leverage off each other's strengths and what each of us is able to do then we can put together a much better whole for our clients. It's that holistic approach that's what's going to end up making the difference," Black added.
Although resources have been improving in the Treasure Valley, Faces would like to have more help from law enforcement, meaning an additional officer dedicated to domestic violence.
"They are hard cases to investigate, they take a lot of time and they need more resources than one dedicated officer," Fisher added.