New report examines Wisconsin’s domestic abuse problem

NOW: New report examines Wisconsin’s domestic abuse problem

WAUKESHA, WI (CBS 58) - - A new report examines the state’s domestic abuse problem and possible solutions.

Since 2000, the organization End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin has been tracking homicides by domestic violence. One of those cases was Jessie Blodgett, who was killed by a friend and classmate in 2013.

“After six years, I’m still at a loss for words to figure out myself what happened and why, but we need to get to root causes,” says Buck Blodgett, father of Jessie.

Jessie was sexually assaulted and strangled to death in her own bed in July 2013 by a friend.

“If Jess was one in a million I wouldn’t be here with you right now, but she’s not one in a million,” says Buck. “One out of three of our girls and women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.”

The new report found 47 people died of domestic violence last year in Wisconsin.

“I don’t necessarily think arrest stops it,” says Angela Mancuso, executive director of The Woman’s Center. “Abusers get out, and they may continue to perpetrate. All law enforcement officers will tell you that that’s not deterrent. But we do know that if we invest in victim safety, victims will be safer.”

That safety includes funding for organizations like The Woman’s Center to hire more staff and expand their resources.

“We need system change and policy change”, says Buck. We need programming. If parenting doesn’t cover it all to teach us how to be peaceful, kind, and loving, then we need a little bit of it in schools too.”

According to the report, 79% of perpetrators were men, 60% of the victims were not an intimate partner of the perpetrator, and the average age of victims was 38 years old.

“The first step to a solution is awareness,” says Buck. "A cultural transformation doesn’t come in a day, so we have to work at this hard and long.”

Anyone who thinks they may be in a domestic violence situation is urged to contact their local police department or resource center.

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