HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Domestic violence cases are on the rise as more people spend time at home this holiday season. Two recent cases in the state were ruled murder-suicides.
The lnterval House is the largest agency in the state for domestic violence. They say they’ve seen more domestic violence cases during the pandemic and into the holidays. The big problem is they say victims are afraid to reach out for help.
“When you think that we’ve had back-to-back murder-suicides just in this small region, it reminds us or should tell us all what we know, which is that domestic violence can happen anywhere to anyone,” said Mary-Jane Foster, President and CEO of Interval House.
A recent deadly shooting in Simsbury was ruled a murder-suicide. The medical examiner said 59-year-old Bernard Halligan Jr. shot himself in the head. His wife, 57-year-old Linda Halligan, was also shot in the head. Her death was ruled a homicide.
“These types of incidences can happen anywhere,” said Deputy Chief Christopher Davis.
Then in Hartford, two people were found dead in a home on Fenwick Street, and that case was also ruled a murder-suicide.
Foster said their mission at the Interval House is to prevent and end domestic violence.
“While we know very little about the two murder-suicides that happened this week, very likely, they happened within a much broader context,” Foster said.
Foster said some people don’t reach out for help because they feel unworthy of being rescued but there are things you can do as an outsider to help.
“Please stay in touch, stay in touch with your family and your friends and your work colleagues,” Foster said. “You don’t have to be an expert in domestic violence to do that.”
On a national level, Foster said they often don’t see abusers seeking help. She said sometimes even criminal charges and incarceration do not interrupt their cycle of abuse.
“We collectively must figure out how we deal with this and of course in the beginning is to teach children what a healthy relationship looks like,” Foster said.
There is a hotline in the state for domestic violence. It’s free and confidential and Foster said you don’t have to be in crisis to call. That number is (888) 774-2900.