This year to date, 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s recorded murders due to domestic violence, has occurred in Cumberland County. Police in the county have averaged one domestic violence incident arrest per day. That’s a lot, considering the countless acts that go unreported, says Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed.
Seven people, both victims and perpetrators, have died since December 28th, 2010.
- Nicole Berman was strangled by her fiancé, Gary Alan Cartwright in December.
- In January, Trisha Edelman who was pregnant was shot in the stomach by her ex-boyfriend, Adam Trump.
- Lisa Goss was shot and murdered by her ex-girlfriend, Melissa Harris in early June. Harris murdered Goss and then turned the gun on herself.
- Last week, Wendy Royer and Paul Johnson were shot to death by Royer’s ex-boyfriend, Robert Liddick. Liddick then committed suicide several hours later.
It wasn’t until police began peeling back the layers of their lives that it became clear that these victims were all silently suffering from domestic violence in Cumberland County.
“Could we have known? Could we have stopped it? Often the answer is no,” said Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed. “But maybe we can stop one in the future. I can’t explain it. I think that’s one of the more scarier things about it,” Freed said.
Because of proposed state budget cuts, more outreach programs may be in jeopardy. There is already a waiting list for some local and state counseling services, and the county is in danger of losing a position in its victim services office.
Thursday, Freed and other advocates against domestic violence spoke about the recent spike. Peg Dierkers, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, called for a roundtable of policy-makers to discuss whether officials have all resources they need.
Although Pennsylvania has many proposed budget cuts, victims of domestic violence can still seek help. Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, Peg Dierkers, and many other advocates are going to go the distance to ensure that resources remain available. Freed spent Thursday afternoon at the Capitol, asking for more help. “I’ve always been baffled,” he said. “Criminals get plenty of resources.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, contact the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or click HERE to go directly to their website.
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