New domestic violence numbers potentially misleading - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

New domestic violence numbers potentially misleading

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the latest ‘Domestic Abuse Incident Report' showing a decrease in the number of incidents statewide between 2010 and 2011.

Ann Kappauf, the executive director of New Horizons Shelter, says it's important to remember the report can only can track incidents where law enforcement is called.

What the DOJ report shows is a total of about 28,336 incidents in Wisconsin in 2011. That's down 4.7 percent from 2010. In La Crosse County, the report shows about 780 incidents in 2011. That's down 8.5 percent from the previous year.

But at New Horizons, the crisis line saw about the same number of calls in 2010 and 2011. And the shelter served about 2000 men and women and children in 2011, about the same number as in 2010.

Kappauf says the number discrepancy occurs because many victims of domestic violence are afraid to report the abuse, but still need assistance.

"The victim is afraid to report. If you get law enforcement involved, it's just going to escalate the situation, escalate the perpetrator's reason for being abusive," Kappauf said. "And it's going to give them a reason to be abusive, in their mind."

Kappauf says anyone needing assistance can get help at New Horizons without reporting the incident.

The New Horizon's crisis line is 1-888-231-0066.

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