BOISE, Idaho — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and leaders around the Treasure Valley are taking steps to let victims know they're not alone. All six cities in Ada County have issued a proclamation that acknowledges the month and spreads awareness of the resources around the community.
"I feel very privileged that we live in a community where people care that deeply and where leaders are willing to, basically, put their name on something and be counted and stand together," said Beatrice Black, the CEO of WCA in Boise.
For Black, at the heart of an individual's well being is a sense of self-worth.
Working at WCA for more than a decade, she's been able to interact with many individuals that have gone through abusive relationships and have seen many people's self-worth deteriorate. She adds often times that leads to troubling thoughts and ways to cope.
"To me, that is just a loss for our entire community," Black said. "If we're able to help one individual grab onto something and say, 'Huh? Maybe there is an alternative, maybe there is somebody I can talk to, maybe somebody will understand.' Then we've done a good day's work."
It's important to Black to bring awareness to domestic violence and the resources within the community to help break the cycles of abuse.
WCA and FACES of Hope both report an increase in domestic violence cases within the last year.
WCA reported that they've had an 84% increase in domestic abuse calls to their hotline. Black said June 2021 was the highest call volume they've ever had with nearly 400 calls.
FACES of Hope said they've seen a 40% increase in clients that they have seen in the past year. They also said they see about 12 clients a week that are dealing with suicidal thoughts while experiencing with domestic abuse.
"I hope that it will make a difference if just one person sees this and feels like it's time for them to get help," said Paige Dinger, the executive director for FACES of Hope. "I think it also says a lot about our community."
Dinger believes this month not only shows those who are dealing with the abuse they're not alone, but it also teaches others on the outside looking in how to help and be involved.
"I always tell people that, 'If somebody comes to you just believe them and don't judge them and know that you might be the only person they're telling," Dinger explained. "If you could just believe them that's really important."
Both Black and Dinger said this issue has a stigma around it, where people might feel embarrassed or afraid they were to face repercussions if they were to seek help. It's crucial to both organizations that victims know their services are strictly confidential.
While this problem isn't likely to go away soon, Black said highlighting resources and recognizing the work that is going on within the community helps.
"We will serve everyone," Black said. "It is a safe place and we try to make it as welcoming as we can."
Both organizations' hotlines and services are free.
Watch more Local News:
See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist: