Phoenix police expert: Call 911, don’t intervene if you see domestic violence

Oct 21, 2021, 11:30 AM
Phoenix City Hall is lit purple throughout October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (Facebook...
Phoenix City Hall is lit purple throughout October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. (Facebook Photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)
(Facebook Photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)

PHOENIX – If you witness a domestic violence incident, it could be dangerous to intervene. A Phoenix police expert says you should call 911.

“We always have to take precaution when responding to these calls because they can get very volatile,” Sgt. Natalie Simonick told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News on Thursday, a national day to wear purple as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Simonick, who is with the Domestic Violence Unit of the Phoenix Police Family Investigations Bureau, said the cases are “very unpredictable.”

“We just don’t know what the history is on these people — the victim, the suspect,” she said. “We don’t know if they’re armed, unarmed … what kind of situation we’ll be walking into.”

If you think a loved one or neighbor could be experiencing domestic violence, and it’s not an active incident, there are ways to help, including just listening to their stories, Simonick said.

“They can also reach out to the Family Advocacy Center and talk to a family advocate on resources for these victims, such as safety planning, assistance with protective orders, … emergency shelter assistance, counseling and support referrals,” she said.

Simonick said there are certain behaviors that could be a sign of potential domestic abuse.

“A lot of times we see extreme jealousy that comes into play when investigating these crimes — possessiveness, just extreme control behavior, the partner may have a bad temper,” she said.

“They may be abusive verbally and physically to the victim, they may harass the victim, showing up at their work, wondering who they’re talking to, demeaning the victim, either privately or in public.”

More than 100 Arizonans died last year as a result of domestic violence, with about two-thirds of the fatalities in Maricopa County, according to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

The city of Phoenix’s Family Advocacy Center can be reached at 602-534-2120.

“We have all kinds of programs that the family advocates can help them [victims] with in order to keep them safe,” Simonick said.

The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence operates a sexual and domestic violence help line at 602-279-2980 and 800-782-6400, or 520-720-3383 for text messaging. The service is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours until 7 p.m. Tuesdays.

In addition, a 24-hour national domestic violence hotline can be reached at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

Other resources can be found online at the city of Phoenix’s domestic violence help page.

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Phoenix police expert: Call 911, don’t intervene if you see domestic violence