Rising Reports of Domestic Abuse in Northwest Arkansas

Washington & Benton County, AR -- - Reports show domestic abuse is on the rise here in Northwest Arkansas. From violence, to manipulative tactics, to financial control, domestic abuse comes in many forms and it's having a psychological impact on people in our communities.

"When I first got out of my situation i was afraid of everything. I slept by my door with a baseball bat." said Lyshell Reann, who's a domestic abuse survivor.

Lyshell Reann is one of thousands of domestic abuse survivors in Northwest Arkansas. In Springdale, police had a total of 671 reported domestic violence cases. In 2016, it rose to 715 and are on pace to do the same this year.

Rogers PD say they're on pace to have 25 more cases than last year.

The Children's Advocacy Center of Benton County has noticed an increase as well. Natalie Tibbs with the CAC said, "The reports of children witnessing domestic violence has increased significantly in the last year."

It's something the Northwest Arkansas Women's Shelter is noticing as well.

"We've averaged over the past 5-6 years about 500 people in shelters. This year we're on pace to go over 5-hundred." said Amber Lacewell, the Director of Community Outreach at NWA Women's Shelter.

Reann utilized the women's shelter in 2012 after being beaten and raped by her abuser. Though it's been 5 years, it's something that'll live with her forever.

"I have been diagnosed with Post traumatic stress disorder. Pretty much almost every woman that I've met that has been through it has PTSD. It's just like being in a war zone." Reann said. 

Domestic abuse is more than just violence, it includes mental and financial abuse as well. Ozark Guidance counselor, Brandy Sholl, helps women impacted by abuse on a daily basis. 

"A lot of what we're dealing with is the constant emotional mental psychological abuse that goes on every single day. They're told things like they're unworthy, or they're stupid or dumb and they have this kind of rolling record in their head." Sholl said. 

Abuse can have a life long impact on a victim. But Reann says if she can make it through, so can you. 

"If you keep quiet nothing's gonna change. You have to use your voice. Your voice is more powerful than anyone smacking or hitting you. It's more powerful than a gun."

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse you can call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.


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