TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Unity House has served the community in Rensselaer County for over 50 years and offers a wide range of services to survivors of domestic violence. Employees shared some signs to look out for as well as services they offer.
Liza Warner was only 29 years old when she was murdered by her husband. He shot her at close range before dying by suicide. Her mom Martha Lasher-Warner said Monday would have been their 24th wedding anniversary.
“We were not aware that control was a sign. The signs were extremely subtle in her marriage,” said Lasher-Warner.
She said the pain never goes away but it has lessened, a bit, over the last 19 years. Since then, Lasher-Warner has dedicated her life to helping victims of abuse. She is the housing specialist at Unity House.
“My job here is extremely important to me. I don’t plan to retire. As long as I can get out of bed and come to work, I still plan to come to work and help in any way that I can any of the victims of domestic violence,” said Lasher-Warner.
The organization offers a wide range of services to survivors, from housing to case management, and even counseling and legal services to help survivors navigate the court system.
Director of Domestic Violence Services Tabitha Dunn said programs are all-inclusive, for anyone in need. She noted an uptick in male survivors the last few years. She said they help 1,600 clients annually.
She said clients often have similar concerns when first leaving.
“They are thinking about all the things they have to leave behind and how challenging it’s going to be to start their lives over again and they are afraid,” said Dunn.
She said there’s one major red flag to look out for.
“We know that with strangulation…Strangulation is often the last thing that gets reported before a fatality,” said Dunn. “Somebody’s willing to take the breath from you, they’re willing to take your life.”
Dunn said they screen for other risk factors that can lead to fatalities. Some factors include non-biological children living in the home, pregnancy and financial stressors. She said they offer trauma-informed care and can assist by creating a safety plan that works for each individual’s circumstances.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the 24/7 helpline at 518-272-2370 or text the hotline at 518-720-6161. There’s also a chat option available at rc.chat/uhdvs