Recent crimes spark concern about domestic abuse

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Domestic violence happens every seven seconds in the U.S.

“When you’re in an abusive relationship the perpetrator’s goal is to keep you down,” Mary Travers Murphy, the executive director of the Family Justice Center said. “Nobody deserves to be in an abusive relationship.”

Last week a woman died unexpectedly in her Cheektowaga home. Police have charged her boyfriend, Thomas Murphy, with her murder. They say the autopsy shows she died of strangulation, not from a fire that charred her home.

Murphy said, “We see domestic violence, domestic abuse in virtually every segment of our society.”

Last Friday, a woman that officials say set fire to a Buffalo home, is also in hot water for harming her boyfriend. The homeowner’s brother told News 4 that Sandra Pierce stabbed him six months ago.

“Domestic violence, domestic abuse is extremely prevalent and the more we are out there talking about it and beaming sunlight on this scourge in our society, the better,” Murphy explained.

The Family Justice Center of Erie County says a violent person tends to show signs of jealously or a possessive behavior. Many try to isolate and control their partner.

They can also suddenly explode into anger and blame others for their bad behavior.

Experts it can take time for victims to realize they’re in an abusive relationship.

“My large group of women who got out tell me, when they were in the midst of it, they never identified themselves as a victim of domestic violence, they referred to it as a difficult relationship, or a rocky relationship.”

If you or a loved one needs assistance, the Family Justice Center has advocates that can help victims heal, create a safety plan to escape or get an order of protection. The center’s number is 716-558-7233. The number for the 24 hour hotline is 716-862-HELP (4357). provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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