GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Silent Observer has teamed up with police in Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Kentwood to issue a list of the most wanted domestic violence suspects from the area, hoping for the public's help to find them and lock them up.
Silent Observer launched its "Love Does Not Hit" campaign as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Grand Rapids-based Safe Haven Ministries says domestic violence impacts nearly a third of women and is among the most underreported crimes. Experts say that means there’s a lot more to ending it than just making arrests.
“If you look at the vast majority of domestic homicides that took place (in Michigan) this year, we’ve had 72 of them, and almost every single one of those that killed someone had a long history of violence,” said Tara Aday, the director of prevention and education at Safe Haven Ministries, which helps women and children escape domestic violence.
Experts say domestic violence often escalates over time.
“Abuse doesn’t start and end with a bruise or a broken arm. It is a pattern of controlling behavior that in some cases does lead to violence,” said Charisse Mitchell, executive director for the YWCA of West Central Michigan, which provides resources for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
The Silent Observer list includes 17 men and one woman accused of multiple crimes, including domestic violence at the misdemeanor and felony level. The backgrounds on many include other crimes like assault and armed robbery.