Domestic violence help in Treasure Coast - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Domestic violence help in Treasure Coast

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By Elizabeth Harrington

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - Domestic violence can happen to anyone at any time in any place. That's why two people on the Treasure Coast are working hard to help survivors get out of harms way.

Every day Fort Pierce Police Detective Kathleen Murphy and Judith Evans review police reports in St. Lucie County that involve domestic violence.

They're looking for what they call high risk cases. "Any threat of future violence, children in the home, weapons in the home," explains Det. Murphy.

Cases that could end like the recent murders of four women including Diana Duve and Bridget Feacher. Police blame domestic violence in all of them.

Det. Murphy and Evans then contact the victims and offer help. They call them using a blocked number so the abuser doesn't find out. "Offer her shelter if she needs shelter," says Evans.

"It is the most dangerous time for a victim when they decide to leave," says Det. Murphy.

The two women work in a program called InVEST.  It's been here in Fort Pierce since 2006. "I've worked with individuals who are doctors and i've worked with individuals who are unemployed," says Evans.

Evans knows exactly what these victims are going through. She is a domestic violence survivor. "I was hit, I was strangled," says Evans, "You name it I pretty much lived through it."

She says it was tough to leave her ex-husband. "I felt trapped and stuck," says Evans.

It's what Evans and Det. Murphy are trying to prevent. "It's an epidemic in the community," says Evans.

One of those four women killed last month was Grace Assenza. Her live-in boyfriend was charged with her murder. This week, the St. Lucie County State's Attorney's office added another charge against him: battery by strangulation.

Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Inc

 1-800-335-8547

SafeSpace

Martin County: 772-288-7023

St. Lucie County: 772-464-4555

Indian River County: 772-569-7233

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence

1-800-500-1119

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