The Sioux Falls murder and the Highmore shooting are cases of family violence spiraling to tragic extremes. Sadly, counselors see all to often the devastating effects of violence on family members.
Darcy Lassegard has a chilling mission statement as a counselor with Volunteers of America Dakotas LifeMarks Counseling. "I always think of the work in family violence as "murder prevention."
But prevention can be difficult. Victims are often reluctant to report violence out of fear and shame. "It's still very secretive, it's embarrassing for someone to come forward and say this is what's happening."
But unless someone steps forward, the violence will only increase. "It does get worse, we know that, if there's violence in a relationship, it will get worse over time."
Kids are often caught in the middle. "As those young people grow up then they begin to interfere and try and stop the violence, which can put them in harm's way."
Lassegard says family violence is a problem that touches every neighborhood. So anyone can play a key role in stopping the violence, before tragedy strikes.
Lassegard says the motivation behind family violence boils down to power and control, with men most often behind the violence. One-in-every-three women are victims of family violence and abuse.