Health

Domestic violence abuse in the spotlight following Texas shooting

Resources available for domestic violence victims

Domestic violence resources in Santa...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - While investigators in Sutherland Springs, Texas look into why Devin Kelley shot and killed 26 people at the First Baptist Church, reports show the gunman had a history of domestic violence.

It's a crime Santa Maria Police say often goes unreported.

"Frequently domestic violence is a crime of silence,” said Lt. Paul Van Meel, with the Santa Maria Police Department.

Lt. Van Meel said victims can often feel ashamed making them feel uncomfortable about reporting the abuse they are experiencing.

"The figures we know about are going to be inconsistent with what we are facing,” he added. 

This means there could be more domestic abuse cases happening in the city than police know about.

"They will report maybe one crime and there really is this ongoing history of domestic abuse,” said Lt. Van Meel. 

Investigators say Kelley assaulted his spouse and his child in 2012. On the Central Coast, there are services for people who are going through similar situations.

"We have a lot of people that say this is the first time they called but, the domestic violence has been happening for months or years,” said Zahida Pacheco, with Domestic Violence Solutions. 

Domestic Violence Solutions is a county wide program. It provides victims with emergency shelter, transitional programs and a crisis line they can call for help.

"Our transitional program is up to 18 months, and then there, we provide case management and counseling,” said Pacheco. 

Pacheco said they help women, men and children.

"They aren’t alone, we are here to help all victims, no matter your gender or race,” she added. 

For more information about where to get help visit DVSolutions.org

You can also call their 24-hour crisis and information lines at: Santa Maria: 805-925-2160, Santa Barbara: 805-964-5245, Santa Ynez: 805-686-4390 or Lompoc: 805-736-0965


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