From YWCA Mohawk Valley CEO Dianne Stancato
We are devastated to learn of another apparent domestic violence related homicide in our hometown, the City of Utica. We have no words to describe the pain we share with our community at the news of this tragic loss of life. Our thoughts go out to the family of Heather Mock, who we understand left behind two children.
This is the second DV-related homicide in Utica in the past two weeks. In late February, we lost another beautiful young woman and mother, Chantal Miller. It is also the fourth domestic violence homicide in Oneida County in less than a year.
One life lost is one too many. Enough is enough.
Domestic or intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent.
Just last year, a national study showed that homicides by intimate partners are increasing, driven primarily by gun violence.
The demand for domestic violence services in New York State has been number one in the country for three years in a row. In 2014, Oneida County saw the highest rate of reported DV incidents in the state outside of New York City.
We can no longer stay silent. We can no longer allow our daughters, our mothers, our sisters, and our friends to become another statistic.
We need to come together as a community to prevent another tragedy. We need to invest in solutions. Solutions like violence prevention education aimed at stopping violence before it starts. Solutions to protect women and children by adding stricter provisions regarding domestic abusers and gun ownership.
Our leaders in the Senate have yet to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which now includes new provisions to close the boyfriend loophole and bar those under a restraining order or who were convicted of abusing, assaulting or stalking a domestic partner from buying guns. They need to act now.
For anyone who is in an abusive relationship or who feels unsafe with a former partner, we are here to help.
YWCA Mohawk Valley is available 24-hours to help if you need safety and support. Call one of our free and confidential hotlines when you’re ready.
In Oneida County, call 315.797.7740.
In Herkimer County, call 315.866.4120.
You are not alone.