Domestic violence on rise among African American community in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Experts say that while on a national level, violent crime is going down, this is not the case in the African-American household.

Kristi Van Audenhove, of the group Action Alliance, said that Richmond is a good example of this national trend.

“So Richmond’s a great example of a community where we’ve seen all crime over time trending down somewhat,” she said. “But there are some scary upticks around violent crime, particularly in the family, particularly domestic violence homicides.”

This is why Van Audenhove’s group Action Alliance is hosting a workshop on coming up with ways to prevent and respond to sexual and intimate partner violence in the African American community in the area.

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Monica Simpson, of the group Sister Song, which is also participating in the workshop stressed the importance of this issue.

“It’s definitely an issue we need to discuss. Violence in the African American community is at an all-time high,” Simpson said.

She also emphasized the importance of working toward real solutions to this problem.

“I mean, we are at a moment that we have to declare every day that Black lives matter, but there’s also a very real issue,” Simpson said, “[Issues of] personal violence and domestic violence [are] very, very important.”

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Just last week Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham released the city’s crime rate statistics. In a press conference, he said that in the past 40 years, violent crime has dropped in the city, but this time compared to last year, homicides are up, especially in economically poorer areas of the city.

“16 of 33 homicides happened inside of a residence,” Durham said during a press conference. “There is nothing, ladies and gentlemen, that we can do about that, inside someone’s private residence.”

According to Durham, the only way to tackle this sort of crime is to look at the underlying causes of it.

“Because until we do that, until we change the things that lead somebody to perpetrate the violence in the first place, we’re not going to make a difference in those rates,” he said.

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