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Domestic violence-related homicides make up 59 percent of the state’s homicides over the last seven years, according to a biennial report from the New Hampshire Domestic Fatality Review Committee. In 2014 and 2015, domestic violence-related homicides represented 62 percent of all homicides in the state.
Amanda Grady Sexton, public affairs director at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said supervised visitation centers provide “critical safety protections for families in crisis.” Without them, she said, children face a greater risk of victimization by a non-custodial parent.
“When supervised visitation options do not exist within a community, the court should consider restricting visitation until the parent has proven that they are no longer a danger to their child,” Grady Sexton said.
The culture of St. Paul’s has to change, said Lyn Schollett, the executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, on Wednesday night. She said the new report shows that the culture that permitted such abuse or turned a blind eye toward it existed for much longer than previously thought.
“It’s important to shine the light on serious crimes like this so that victims know that they’re not alone,” said Schollett. “The willingness of victims to come forward shows how long-lasting these crimes can be.”
This week’s social media conversation has been helpful for many women who are survivors of assault and harassment, but not everyone, according to Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“The vast majority of women felt very supported by community showing not only solidarity but that the prevalence (of sexual harassment and assault) is a sad thing,” she said. “I think it would be hard to find a woman who hasn’t experienced it.”
Grady Sexton said some survivors of assault and abuse “felt it was very unfortunate there was a need for people to relive the trauma in order to prove a point” and that there isn’t enough action around the #MeToo conversation.
She added that while the effect of #MeToo posts have been “unsettling” for some and caused some divisive social media debate, there are benefits beyond survivors feeling empowered by the conversation.
“Our hope is the social media awareness that is raised turns into internal changes in people or just general awareness,” Grady Sexton said. “There really are some people who don’t understand their behavior is unacceptable. I do hope men are also reading this and evaluating.”