Domestic violence calls on the rise across Minnesota and Olmsted County

(ABC 6 News) – Domestic violence has become more common across the country since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The same holds true following the holidays as law enforcement say they’re responding to more crisis calls than ever. Olmsted County Sheriff’ office reported an increase in call volume from 2022 to 2023, as 2023 had 117 total calls to dispatch, up from 95 the previous year.

Violence Free Minnesota tracks domestic cases across the state and has reported 36 domestic violence deaths last year, the highest number recorded over the last decade.

“Domestic violence is all about power and control,” said Jeannie Thompson, Director of Youth and Programming Outreach for the Rochester Women’s Shelter. “Their abusive partner will use many tactics to remove a victim’s personal power and make all their decisions for them.”

The increase has many concerned, especially when shelters, families, and law enforcement see an uptick in cases following the holidays.

“It’s just frustrating knowing that things are getting worse,” said Marie, a domestic violence survivor who has requested to remain anonymous for their safety. “I finally realized that if I didn’t get out I was going to die and there was no other way out. So I think that’s what finally made me want to reach out is that I didn’t want to die.”

Stacia Schnoor’s daughters’, Sabrina Schnoor, was a victim of domestic violence according to Owatonna police, who say she was killed by her ex-boyfriend Jason Horner in June.

“I’ve learned a lot since what happened to her,” Stacia Schnoor said. “I wish I would have been around more and just would have kept, keep an open relationship with her because it would get to the point where she would lie to me about it being him.”

Captain Tim Parkin of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office adds paying close attention to these types of behaviors could mean the difference between life and death.

“I think people sometimes want to say that’s not my business, I don’t want to be involved,” Parkin said. “But when it comes to anybody a loved one, a neighbor. If you feel something just isn’t right, have that conversation.”

Following her tragedy, Schnoor has set out to ensure no one else has to suffer as her daughter Sabrina did. “Just get help, that’s the biggest thing. Reach out to the crisis resource centers, reach out to any foundation that helps with domestic abuse.”

Stacia Schnoor has started the Sabrina Lee Schnoor Foundation for Domestic Abuse Victims in honor of her daughter’s memory. The non-profit will provide help for domestic violence victims with self defense training, and as it grows, Stacia hopes they will have enough resources to help victims on an individual basis to get the support they need.