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St. Paul beat: Domestic abuse advocates serving more people

  • Article by: Nicole Norfleet
  • Star Tribune
  • August 8, 2013 - 7:26 PM

Earlier this year, it seemed we couldn’t go a week without reports of yet another Twin Cities woman who had been killed allegedly by her angry, estranged partner.

About half of St. Paul’s nine homicides so far this year, authorities say, were related to domestic violence. But in the wake of these tragedies, several domestic abuse advocate groups say more victims are stepping forward to get help before it’s too late.

“I don’t want to be the next Kira Trevino,” women have written in affidavits, said Bree Adams Bill, a legal advocate with the St. Paul Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, referring to the St. Paul woman whose body was found this May in the Mississippi River after her husband was charged in her disappearance.

The trial for her husband, Jeffery Trevino, is scheduled to begin Sept. 16.

Calls and requests for services have increased “dramatically” at the program in the last several months, Adams Bill said.

Bridges to Safety, a domestic abuse services center housed on the first floor of St. Paul’s city hall, is experiencing the same thing.

After the death of Panhia Yang, who along with her brother was killed by her estranged husband in March, Bridges to Safety started seeing more Asian-Pacific Islanders, said coordinator Danielle Kluz. In March, API victims made up 9 percent of the people the organization served. In April, the number jumped to 17 percent.

“We’ve had a few that told us ‘I saw her story on the news and it did make me feel that I need to do something about this,’ ” Kluz said.

Through the help of its partners, Bridges to Safety, which celebrated its five-year anniversary this year, offers crisis intervention, legal consultation, police investigation and even on-site child care.

For information about Bridges to Safety, go to www.bridgestosafety.org. The Day One Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line number is 1-866-223-1111.

 

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495

Twitter: @stribnorfleet

 

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