Family Justice Center: Spike in domestic violence in WNY; new state funding aims to help combat violence

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — One hundred thousand dollars is heading to the Family Justice Center to help combat domestic violence. 

The funds will be used for the center’s forensic medical unit. State Senator Tim Kennedy visited the center Wednesday for the announcement. 

“They are on the ground doing the work every single day to protect our community and give victims and survivors in our community the resources they need in order to get away from their abusers,” said Kennedy.

The forensic medical unit documents physical and other types of abuse in domestic violence situations. It plays a key role in the prosecution of domestic violence cases.

“The centerpiece of what we do is our forensic medical unit,” said Mary Travers Murphy, CEO, Family Justice Center. “We can, through body mapping, describe injuries on an electronic map of the body, with high definition cameras, and special lighting that can capture injuries.”

Since the start of the pandemic, the center has seen a 74 percent spike in domestic violence-related calls.

The medical unit has also seen an increase in clients who have experienced things like head trauma. In 2020 the forensic medical unit handled 102 strangulation cases.

“We know that with strangulation when it occurs even only one time, that person is 750 percent times more likely to be killed by their abuser,” said Ava Thomas Operations Manager Family Justice Center. 

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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