COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Survivors of murder-suicides across Georgia and support advocates met to share vital information on resources that can help those most affected by these tragic crimes.
Columbus has already seen two confirmed murder-suicides this year, but experts say these crimes are widespread on a state and national level.
A study done by The Violence Policy Center reports more than 1,200 Americans die every year from murder-suicides. Georgia's state commission on Family Violence says 1/3 of domestic violence deaths are ruled murder-suicides.
For advocates like Annie Davis, the goal of Wednesday's lunch and learn was sharing this vital information on resources for survivors.
"It has become, tragically, more of a hot topic," she said. "It didn't just happen with the murder-suicide that happened. There was something already going on. Our goal here is to look at those activities and behaviors that lead up to such a tragic incident."
Davis, co-chair for the Domestic Violence Roundtable, highlighted the need for local leaders, churches, and agencies like the Georgia Commission on Family Violence (GCFV) to reach out to all communities, and find families who may be dealing with domestic violence before the worst case scenario occurs.
"Because it starts very slowly, and it can start from any walk of life and any economic background," Davis said.
"So our goal is to bring in the whole city of Columbus, to say, 'Hey, this is what domestic violence looks like. Let's educate ourselves so we can stop it."
GCFV's website lists all sorts of counseling support, contacts with experts that specialize in dealing with grief caused by these crimes, as well as information on the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program, which can help families receive financial benefits for medical bills, loss of earnings, funeral expenses and more.