ST. LOUIS – Organizations such as Diamond Diva Women’s Empowerment are among others that joined in on the discussion of the increase in domestic violence victims and fatal situations since the pandemic began and are asking city leaders to get involved.
“Domestic violence needs to be viewed as a public safety, as well as a public health issue,” said Dr. Marlowe Gaines, executive director of Diamond Diva Empowerment Foundation.
Wednesday morning Mayor Tishaura Jones and Director of Public Safety Dan Isom met with local domestic violence organizations to discuss preventative action.
“I think the most important message that I’m taking away from today is domestic violence can happen to anyone, and that the city absolutely has to do more. These are those root causes of crime that we talk about preventing,” Jones said.
St. Louis City is short on resources to help men and women who find themselves in traumatic or life-threatening experiences.
“We want to make sure that we are adding our part as we hire 28 more social workers between human services and helping our unhoused,” Jones said.
Jones says the city is also beefing up the cops and clinicians program to ensure the right people are responding to the right calls.
In August, Jones’ cousin and another woman were killed in what police have revealed as a domestic dispute in Ferguson. Organizations have seen a surge in intimate partner crime throughout the pandemic.
“Right now St. Louis is seeing that our homicide rates are being affected in a very big way, a very significant way, because of domestic violence and relationships that are resulting in death,” Gaines said.
Diamond Diva uses videos when educating families, loved ones, and victims about the different forms of abuse and its effect. Gaines says it is crucial for local leaders to unite and share resources.
“It’s going to take all of us in order to bring down crime in the city and it can’t just be on the shoulders of governing or the shoulders of our nonprofits or our clergy. It has to be all of us at the table,” she said.