People often suggest to victims of domestic abuse to simply “leave” the relationship.

“That’s most people’s gut reaction,” said Elizabeth Power, of the Women’s Center for Advancement.

But Power said leaving isn’t always easy. Sometimes women want to stay in an abusive relationship in hopes they can work it out, and other times they are fearful their partner may become even more abusive if they leave.

On Friday, an Omaha man held his ex-girlfriend hostage when she tried to move out, authorities say. He shot her brothers, who were helping her with the move, before killing himself.

Though few details have emerged about the relationship between the La Vista woman and her ex-boyfriend, the incident follows several high-profile domestic violence cases in the past nine months.

In July, Nicole Cswercko was abducted and stabbed by her former boyfriend in Sarpy County. Then, in December, a man shot and killed Destacia Straughn and her 2-year-old daughter in Omaha.

Friday, 45-year-old Kenneth Clark released his former girlfriend, Julie Edwards, from his home in west Omaha. But her two brothers, Jason and John Edwards, were killed trying to help their sister move her things, according to authorities. Clark died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“We’re heartbroken for this woman and her family,” Power said.

Power, the director of marketing and public relations, offered advice to families with members in an abusive relationship. She said the best thing family members can do is simply show support.

“Just let the victim know you’re there for them,” Power said.

Power said there are several ways to show support, such as reaching out, via phone or in person, to a domestic violence organization with the victim.

She also said to help the victim realize he or she is not at fault.

“They will think they brought it on themselves,” Power said. “But you have to help knock out those thoughts.”

The Women’s Center for Advancement helped about 20,000 women in abusive relationships in 2015. Power said each scenario is unique to the individuals involved, but the Women’s Center takes specific steps to help:

» An advocate at the center talks to the victim to find out what’s happening;

» The advocate and victim establish a safety plan by taking assessments to determine the severity of the situation;

» Often, the advocate will help the victim file paperwork for a protection order;

» The Women’s Center may help the victim change doorlocks and passwords to private information, such as bank accounts.

Power said she is appreciative of law enforcement who respond to domestic violence calls.

If in an abusive relationship, call the hotline at the Women’s Center for Advancement at 402-345-7273.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1304,

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Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

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