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Domestic violence on the rise in Marquette County

Domestic violence charges were up 22% in 2020 from 2019. This year, the numbers are on pace to be up further.
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:32 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Since the pandemic, domestic violence cases have been on the rise in Marquette County.

“It’s not surprising in light of the lockdowns and the pandemic that we may see some of this type of crime on the increase,” said Matt Wiese, Marquette County Prosecutor.

According to Wiese, there were 154 domestic violence charges in 2019. In 2020, that number went up to 188. So far this year, there have been 61 cases. At this pace that number will be higher than 2020 and have an average of four cases every week.

“It’s eye-opening,” said Wiese. “Not only the increase, but the severity of the cases.”

Wiese says felony domestic violence cases have also increased. A felony charge is for a repeat offender or someone who choked their victim.

“Strangulation is a 10-year felony under Michigan law,” said Wiese. “It’s a life-threatening assault and it’s very dangerous.”

The Women’s Center in Marquette, which offers free and confidential support and emergency shelter for victims, has seen the same thing.

“We’re seeing lethality at a greater level than we’ve ever seen before,” said Beth Casady, Women’s Center Executive Director. “I’m not sure what drives that. Domestic violence is all about control.”

That control combined with more people spending time at home, is making it harder for victims to escape.

“We’re seeing victims flee without anything,” said Casady. “So what that is telling us is that if they get a chance and their perpetrator goes to the store or something, they are leaving as soon as they can. We are seeing a lot of children in the shelter.”

The Marquette County Prosecutor encourages victims to get help.

“It’s important to seek help if people need help,” said Wiese. “The police will take the case seriously and my office will certainly take the case seriously.”

If you or someone you know in Marquette or Alger County needs help, contact the Women’s Center’s 24/7 support line at 906-226-6611 or visit wcmqt.org.

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