FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Advocates and mental health professionals are encouraging people to seek out help if they are experiencing domestic abuse.
This comes after three people were killed Sunday in a domestic disturbance. Penni Burns, CEO of Fort Smith Crisis Intervention Center, said the center has seen an increase in domestic violence calls throughout the pandemic.
“It’s been more of a constant flow of in and out of outreach services and federal services for sure lately with everything going on in the world,” Burns said.
Fort Smith Crisis Intervention Center is a 24/7 shelter that provides support and guidance for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
“When such a tragedy this week happens, it does alert people about how real the situation is,” Burns said.
Counselor at Preferred Counseling, Cheryl Edwards, said if someone feels as though they are in an unsafe relationship or family situation, they should make a plan on how to get out.
“We have to be sure that we’re safe so make sure you have a safety plan, are the children safe, are you safe,” Edwards said.
Edwards said people also need to recognize when more help is needed.
“It’s important to understand that we love the person but not the behaviors, if those behaviors are threatening to us in any way whether it’s mentally or physically then it is not an appropriate relationship,” Edwards said.
Preferred Counseling offers trauma support and counseling. If you are in immediate danger, you can call the Fort Smith Crisis Intervention Center the 24/7 hour crisis hotline at 1-800-359-0056.