Calls for help to Latimer House go up after tragedies, violence-related fatalities
People like Jamie and her children may never find relief from years of domestic violence without third-party interaction, said Jackie Sievers, executive director of Hilltop’s Child and Family Services which includes the Latimer House.
A mentor with Hilltop’s Get Real, a program that offers family visits and mentors children, learned of the abuse occurring in Jamie’s home. The mentor asked law enforcement to conduct a welfare check at the home, which caught Jamie’s husband off-guard and allowed her a bit of respite from years of abuse.
Jamie used the opportunity to escape. She stayed at the Latimer safe house for two months and since then has been starting life up again free from years of abuse by her husband.
People generally attempt to leave abusive partners between seven and 11 times before they are successful, Sievers said.
Calls for help from people in abusive relationships to the Latimer House generally increase after tragic incidents or a domestic-violence-related fatality.
“One of the dynamics of an abusive relationship is a person undermines another’s self confidence, or they’re under threat of physical violence,” Sievers said. “Over 50 percent of those people have no money or little assets, which adds other stresses.”
Women, men and children who are the victims of domestic violence can receive emergency housing, counseling, advocacy and other services through the Latimer House. The program also offers support and training for family members of relatives affected by domestic violence.
Since Jamie’s case came to light, she has been assisted by a number of agencies, including the Mesa County Housing Authority, the Workforce Center, Hilltop’s Get Real and Kiddin’ Around Learning Center, and School District 51.
After entering Latimer House, clients often are helped through other agencies, so people are not tempted to return to abusive relationships, Sievers said.
The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times for families and can lead to an increase in domestic violence, she said.
Mesa County case worker Renee Haig said it’s fairly common that victims of domestic violence rationalize the abuse, even if it’s been occurring for years.
“You see that a lot — denial,” she said. “You literally detach from what’s going on. It’s what people do to survive.”
Victims of domestic violence are encouraged to call the Latimer House’s 24-hour crisis line at 241-6704.