Dozens gather to recognize domestic violence victims during Silent Witness Walk

Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-17 16:48:50-04

(WXYZ) — It's being called a pandemic within a pandemic.

Staying home helped slow the spread of COVID-19, but it wasn’t a safe place for some – with added stressors of job loss, school closures and less interaction with people who might notice warning signs.

Members of the Detroit Police Department and Domestic Violence Unit lead the way Saturday to try to get local victims help they need.

"When I was bit on my wrist and my car was damaged, I think that was a red flag for me," said one attendee.

That is why they walk. The Detroit Police 5th precinct organized a Domestic Violence Awareness event Saturday.

In the midst of a city that fields an average of 59 domestic violence calls a day, these numbers have skyrocketed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The banner was 'Stay home, stay safe,' but for us in the domestic violence world, it was how do you stay home when home is not safe," said Ericka Murria, a domestic violence advocate.

Murria with the 9th precinct says there are big challenges victims face.

"Finding a safe space to live, finding transportation to get there and resources to stay at a hotel."

With shelters at capacity, Detroit Police officers have gone into their own pockets to help.

"I just have to say thank you to everyone here at the 9th precinct, to be a blessing to a single mom who was at home with her abuser during COVID," said Murria.

The situation became dark and nearly deadly. Officers at the 9th precinct got the woman into a safe apartment and have plans this week to show her more love.

"Gifts and surprises for her and her kiddos."

But DPD says they cannot do it alone. They launched a specially marked purple patrol car to raise money for the domestic violence shelter in the city. It made an appearance in Balduck Park where officers in the 5th precinct offered support and encouragement through a dove release with a prayer for peace and unity, then releasing biodegradable balloons as a symbol of hope for a safer future.

"It means that they hear us they care," said Murria. "To raise money for domestic violence in Detroit, and we don’t have many resources. That's huge."