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'The problem is not going away': Indianapolis advocate, IMPD discuss domestic violence cases

New program launching to help survivors
downtown indianapolis
Posted at 8:32 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 20:32:16-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Data from IMPD shows cases assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit are less than they were in 2021, but advocates say more work needs to be done.

Danyette Smith is a survivor of domestic violence who currently works as Indianapolis' first Director of Domestic Violence. The position was created in response to an increase in calls and cases over the past two years.

Smith says her position is more important now than ever before.

"Just because we see that slight decrease does not mean it's over. That could definitely mean it's just the beginning," Smith said. "We just want to make sure that as those calls decrease, it's because our victims and survivors are getting those services needed and not because they're afraid to call IMPD."

From January 1, 2021 through April 20, 2021, the domestic violence unit was assigned 1,759 cases. In that same time frame in 2022, the unit has been assigned 1,551 cases.

“The problem is not going away. It is still here," Sgt. David Lindsey with the IMPD Domestic Violence Unit said. “I think it’s part of law enforcement and as far as our city working together to have that relationship to where when people need help, they need to know that we are here to help them.”

Smith is creating a team of three advocates for the Champions Program for Domestic Violence Prevention. It will connect victims and survivors with existing community resources, serve as ‘boots on the ground’ and partner with IMPD.

"We want to make sure that our city knows that we have a program that is being built that is really about to be pushed out into the community and be there directly for them," Smith said.

Smith hopes the team will be fully in place by the end of May.

For those who want to connect with the program, call 317-210-0671.

If you need help immediately, you can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

You can contact them through their website, by calling 1-800-799-7233 or texting "start" to 88788. The website also has a live chat option.