Advocate helps domestic violence victims through police ride-alongs


LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Lafayette police now have an extra hand when responding to domestic violence calls.

“Victims are more willing to come forward,” YWCA victim advocate Norah Ashcraft said. “I think they call the police way more often than what they used to.”

Lafayette Police Sgt. Scott Galloway said keeping track of the number of domestic violence calls is becoming a challenge for police.

“It doesn’t have the label domestic violence on it,” said Galloway. “It’s not until we get there that we can determine what is actually happening.”

However, a twist on a partnership with the YWCA is giving police a helping hand.

“It’s a really good way of bridging the gap with the police department and the community and offering immediate services,” said Ashcraft.

After noticing an increased number of calls on Thursdays, Ashcraft began leaving her office at the police department three weeks ago to spend those evenings riding along with an officer.

“A crisis victim doesn’t want to be put on hold,” Ashcraft said. “They would want to talk to someone and try to get some sort of resolution that night or quickly after the incident happens.”

Ashcraft provides guidance immediately after police get a situation under control — something Galloway says is a major benefit to victims.

“As time goes on, people are less likely to cooperate with the case so that is another advantage of this,” Galloway said. “People have those services immediately so in the heat of the moment, people can have outreach to help them.”

Ashcraft is not just making a difference in the lives of domestic violence victims, but officers as well.

“I can give them information that they can pass on to victims when I’m not there, so I think that it’s a really good situation.”

For now, Ashcraft is only doing the ride-alongs once a week, but she hopes to expand the program in the future.