A report released by the Milwaukee County Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) highlighted the impact of their work and the need for more resources.
The team is made up of the Sojourner Family Peace Center, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office, Milwaukee Police Department, and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Together, they meet twice weekly to prioritize and review cases the potential for death is high. The goal is to "maximize safety for survivors and accountability for offenders."
According to the report, out of 3,131 cases that the team staffed one person was killed by their abuser. In 2021, none of the victims that were being helped by the DVHRT were killed.
Last year, 47% of cases resulted in an arrest, an increase from 26% in 2019.
Words fail to describe the hard road survivors like Amira have overcome.
"I speak with resilience and pride because I was too weary and skeptical about helping myself and at the time I was being physically and mentally abused," Amira said.
Jennifer Moston knows the path herself.
"Unfortunately, I did learn that when a person gets to the point where they will strangle their victim, that next attack most likely is death," Moston said.
Both women shared their stories publicly showing how the support they got changed their lives.
"I truly, truly believe if it weren't for Sojourner and law enforcement and courts, that I would not be here today," Moston said.
"Statistically, it shows that 99.93% of those who came to Sojourner have survived. I'm one of them and I'm so lucky to be here and I'm so grateful," Amira said.
Carmen Pitre, CEO and President of Sojourner Family Peace Center, stressed that they want to highlight good results but they are still focused on the ongoing crisis of violence.
"There are way too many cases for the team to review. So the good news is - very effective, incredible at preventing homicide. The hard news is it's underfunded and they really shouldn't be looking at cases every single day," Pitre said.
This issue is not limited to Milwaukee. The report shows a 43% jump in case referrals from the suburbs between 2020 and 2021.
Moving forward, the DVHRT wants to increase its capacity for staffing, outreach, and extra support to victims in areas with greater needs.
If you or someone you know needs help with a domestic violence situation you can call the Sojourner Family Peace Center's 24-hour hotline (414) 933-2722 or text us at (414) 877-8100.