Alarms allow victims of domestic violence to quickly notify police

MADISON (WKOW) — Police have added to their tools to quickly respond to help victims of domestic violence.

Dane County and the Dane County District Attorney’s office have worked together on a grant to purchase five additional personal alarm systems.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced today their offices have worked together on a grant to provide five additional alarms. They made the announcement today with Shannon Barry, executive director of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, or DAIS.

The purchase of the additional advanced alarm systems will provide one more layer of protection, according to Parisi.

Alerts will be placed in residences of people at high risk of domestic violence.

"The response to these alarms, once sounded, will be swift and strong," Parisi said. "We want to put potential perpetrators on notice that violence of any type will not be tolerated in the community."

The alarms are being bought through a combination of county dollars and a $100,139 Victims of Crime Act grant Dane County successfully applied for through the federal government. 

Dane County is contributing $26,040 to the project, a 20% match to the grant.  The dollars will help purchase five of the alarm systems and a resolution approving the local share of funding will be introduced at this week’s County Board meeting.

The Dane County DA’s office receives approximately 3,000 referrals each year from law enforcement for domestic violence related crimes, according to a news release from Parisi’s office.

National statistics show that less than on fourth of domestic violence is ever reported to law enforcement. Nationally, one in four women and one in seven men will be the victim of physical or sexual assault at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetime. In 2017 alone Domestic Abuse Intervention Services in Dane County fielded more than 18,000 calls on our 24-hour help line, according to the news release. 

“We are trying to protect victims who may be in imminent danger,” Ozanne said. “With a lack of emergency housing, home alarms provide a needed tool in providing safety options to victims and their children.”

The new alarms are Dane County’s latest initiative at confronting domestic violence. 

Just a couple of years ago, Parisi allocated $2.5 million in county dollars to help complete the fundraising campaign to construct the new domestic violence shelter for DAIS on North Sherman Avenue. 

Along with helping build that shelter to help serve more victims, Dane County has a Social Worker in the Adult Protective Services Unit, who is partially funded by a VOCA Grant and addresses issues of domestic violence in later life. 

Dane County also has a Commission on Sensitive Crime Community Coordinated Response and contracts with DAIS for legal services, crisis intervention, and hotel vouchers for $249,430 a year. 

"DAIS is incredibly grateful to be part of a strong network of partners in Dane County working collaboratively to support victims of domestic violence with serious safety issues,” Barry said. “Additional emergency home alarms and radios for victims utilizing the services of the District Attorney’s Office Crime Response Program will have a significant impact for victims who are the most at risk of potential homicide by their batterers." 

Watch the news conference HERE or below.

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