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violence

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									                                           Changing Violent Trends Need Attention

         There’s a new epidemic traveling across America. No, it’s not a new strain of flu
or pneumonia, but of violence. Domestic violence is not only a national problem, but a
local one as well. According to the Michigan State Police’s 2004 Criminal Justice
Information Center on Domestic Violence Victims, there were 54,258 victims of
domestic violence in Michigan alone; 108 of those victims resided in Houghton County.
Domestic violence is defined as “violence toward or physical abuse of one's spouse or
domestic partner” according to the American Heritage Dictionary. Although the
traditional victim of domestic violence is a married female, it is becoming more frequent
for unmarried females are being abused by their boyfriends. In 2004, 44 percent of
domestic violence victims in Michigan were abused not by their spouses, but by their
boyfriends and girlfriends. This rate goes up even more in Houghton County, where 67
out of 108 victims (62 percent) reported abuse by boyfriends or girlfriends.
         There are places for victims of domestic violence to get help. In the case of an
emergency, a victim or someone overhearing an attack can always call for help by dialing
911. Another place to go to for help is Dial Help, a local organization that provides free
short-term counseling, a 24-hour help line, group support and a variety of other services
all free of charge. The number for their 24-hour, 7-day-a-week help line is 482-4357 or
(800)562-7622.
         Another local place that can help victims of domestic violence is the Barbara
Kettle Gundlach Shelter. This shelter provides short-term housing for victims and their
children, individual and group counseling, and help filing charges against the abuser.
The Gundlach Shelter can be reached 24 hours a day at 337-5623.
         For victims who are attending Michigan Technological University, the school has
its own set of free services through the Hamar House Counseling Center. For more
information about the variety of counseling services that they offer, call 487-2538.


                                         Number of Domestic Violence Victims in
                                                    Houghton County

                                   140

                                   120

                                   100                                                 Spouse
               Number of Victims




                                                                                       Friend
                                    80
                                                                                       Family
                                    60
                                                                                       Other
                                    40                                                 Total

                                    20

                                     0

                                          2004     2003      2002     2001      2000

                                                             Year

								
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