LAS VEGAS (KLAS) –Nearly 10 million people experience domestic violence every year and the issue is a rising concern in Nevada.
Governor Joe Lombardo joined the resource group, SafeNest, and other law leaders during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to celebrate recently passed legislation for victims.
“Growing up in a domestic violence home that is what I thought was normal and that continued throughout my adulthood, and I am proud to say I am a survivor,” Linda Perez, the CEO of The Shade Tree, a domestic violence shelter and resource center said.
Perez said 80% of children from a domestic violence-affected household either become an abuser or a victim. She also said that there is a misunderstanding of what a victim looks like.
“I was college-educated; he was a leader in the community,” She explained.
As CEO, she uses her own experiences to make a positive impact on the lives of her clients. She and others gathered at the Shade Tree for its annual candlelight vigil paying honor and tribute to survivors and people lost to domestic-violence.
Nevada ranks in the top 10 for women killed and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said many of the homicides they’ve investigated this year were domestic violence related.
AB257 allows free forensic exams for victims of sexual assault and strangulation, and AB276 allows for telehealth forensic exams for victims of sexual assault and strangulation.
“Women that are strangled in domestic violence have a 750% higher likelihood of being victims of homicide on the first strangulation. Most women do not call 9-1-1 until they have been strangled 5 times,” Liz Ortenburger, CEO of SafeNest said.
Ortenburger said some domestic violence triggers include financial stress, mental health, a history of child or substance abuse, and Nevada’s open gun laws. She hopes the laws also reduce local homicides.
Metro police reported domestic violence is a top factor in homicide cases and reported a 47% increase in domestic violence deaths in 2023.
Another piece of legislation AB51 extends domestic violence arrests.
“AB51 gives us seven days instead of that 24-hour window,” Andrew Walsh, Clark County undersheriff said. “This is going to save lives.”
“You, or someone you know, has or will be affected by domestic violence,” Perez said. “We have to start talking about it. We can change our families, break the cycle, and impact our communities.”
If you or someone you know needs help, you can reach the national domestic violence hotline by visiting https://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-safe (7233). You can also text “start” to 88788.