‘Troubling’ number of domestic violence calls following Edmonton mass murder

WATCH: Edmonton police responded to more than a dozen domestic violence calls last weekend. Vinesh Pratap has the story.

EDMONTON — A subject often kept hidden behind closed doors has been thrust into the spotlight ever since nine people lost their lives in Edmonton in what police called an extreme case of domestic violence.

Just last weekend, on the heels of the killings, Edmonton police say they responded to 15 domestic violence calls, two of which involved very serious injuries. It’s 10 more cases than the first weekend of January 2014.

The city’s John Howard Society, which serves those impacted by family violence, has also told Global News that since the incident, it has received many calls from clients who are frightened and seeking support.

READ MORE: Court documents reveal Phu Lam previously threatened to kill family

Over the last three years, the calls of domestic violence reported to the Edmonton Police Service has remained relatively steady.

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Each year, about 2,500 calls to police become criminal investigations. And there’s one disturbing trend.

“My concern is that we’re seeing an escalation in the severity of the violence,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Armstrong of the EPS Domestic Offender Crimes Section.

WATCH: New graphic public service announcement from the Edmonton Police Service

Unfortunately, the majority of domestic abuse cases go unreported. Police want victims to know there is help out there. The hope is that by continuing to talk about the issue, and giving support agencies a greater chance to reach out, things will improve.

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“You don’t have to wait until things get out of control to contact someone. Don’t wait until there are bruises and broken bones,” said Armstrong.

He also addressed the community, saying this is an issue which is “everyone’s responsibility.”

READ MORE: Statistics Canada offers a profile on family violence

According to Statistics Canada, 68 people were killed by their partners in 2014. Most of the victims were women.

Here are some resources for those in need:

Canadian Mental Health Association
Child Welfare League of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada, Family Violence Prevention Team, Centre for Health Promotion & Family Violence Initiative
Neighbours Friends & Families

With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News

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