Murder-suicides are all too common and often claim the lives of innocent victims.
And more often, murder-suicide is committed by an intimate partner through a domestic violence relationship.
Lariana Forsythe, the executive director of Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA), explains how relationships can quickly become unhealthy and abusive.
“Domestic violence really boils down to power and control. The perpetrator wants control in the relationship and will use all possible tactics to achieve that control,” she said.
The Power and Control Wheel developed by the DAIP (Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs) shows a clear understanding of how quickly a relationship can become violent.
It can begin by isolating the survivor from friends and family. Thereafter, there could be threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, minimization or blame, financial abuse, and even use of children with abuse.
“There will be a case of violence and then all they have to do is threaten in some way that that violence could be used again and control the victim,” Forsythe said.
Forsythe also said calls to CASA’s 24-hour helpline have increased since the pandemic began, with the month of August up 41%.
“So these are people looking for advice on a security plan, looking for resources to connect with, and our lawyers are there 24/7 to help with any of these questions,” she said.
Also on the rise?
Officials responding to domestic violence calls in some areas such as Pinellas County are on the rise as the risk of violence increases as COVID-19 has forced many into isolation.
“If there is a perpetrator who threatens to kill himself if you leave, that is a great fear for many survivors. Nobody really wants that responsibility? That is a very high death indicator that a homicide-suicide could occur. ” She said.
Forsythe recommends calling CASA’s 24-hour helpline at 727-895-4912 so that you can create a security plan and consider CASA’s free accommodation.
Many other services are available at CASA, including free legal advice to help with a protection order, legal costs, advice, and more.
So help is out there. All you have to do is make the call.
“You are not alone. Domestic violence is incredibly common, but you need to speak to someone who understands domestic violence and can help you with it,” she added.
Further information on CASA’s free accommodation and services is also available on the CASA website at: https://www.casa-stpete.org/get-help/
Other resources include: The national domestic violence hotline, available 24/7 at 1-800-500-1119.
The Tampa Bay Crisis Center has domestic violence resources in www.crisiscenter.com or by calling 211 any time of day seven days a week.
The Haven of RCS Domestic Violence Home in Clearwater, along with other services, is also free.
Go to their website at: https://rcspinellas.org/help/#domestic or call RCS’s 24-hour Domestic Abuse Hotline: (727) 442-4128