FORT SMITH, Ark. — Following incidents of domestic violence abuse in Fort Smith, advocacy groups across the Northwest Arkansas area are letting people know there is a way out of these situations and there is help.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Sunday, Oct. 18, is a day friends, family, and neighbors of Julie Moore say they will never forget.
"I fell to the floor when I got the phone call,” said Breeze Morrell, Moore’s cousin. “I screamed."
Family and friends say they believe Moore was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of longtime boyfriend Christopher Conner. According to Fort Smith Police, Conner killed Moore and their 15-year-old son.
Stacy Seger with the Northwest Arkansas Women's shelter says if you need help, get it.
"One and three people, men, women, and children, sometime in their life, in Arkansas, will be a victim of domestic violence," Seger said.
That number is higher than the national average, which is one and four people. Seger says to pay attention to the signs of someone who could be in a domestic violence situation.
"If you see pretty significant changes in someone’s behavior. How they would react is normally different, maybe draw a little closer to them,” Seger said. “Ask them some questions. Try to figure out what's going on with them."
She says victims will usually withdraw from other relationships or may try to mask emotions with false happiness.
"To all the abuse victims out there, please get help as soon as possible because these people never change,” said Moore’s friend Brittany Deschryver. “They never change. That's all I want to say. Get away from those relationships as soon as possible."
Seger says if you are in a violent situation to call the NWA Women's Shelter at (479)-246-9999.
From 2020 to 2021, the NWA Women's Shelter says they have received more than 1,500 emergency calls from domestic violence victims seeking help
You can also reach out to the Crisis Intervention Center in Fort Smith at (479)-782-1821 or National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.