There is help for individuals affected by domestic violence - if only they would come forward and ask for assistance.

Local statistics show that many abuse victims are seeking help, but a tough battle still must be fought to make even more progress. Too many women - and men - live quietly in fear, often ashamed to discuss their abusive relationship.

Turning Point Domestic Violence Services of Jefferson County reported at its annual report to the community Thursday that in 2012, there were 163 protective orders filed in Jefferson County - a 19 percent decrease from 2011. Turning Point assisted in 85 of those filings.

People are reaching out for help, but there still is so much work to be done.

We're cautiously optimistc of continued progress because of Turning Point's proactive approach. Education, prevention and early intervention will result in fewer reports of domestic violence.

Turning Point even goes into our elementary schools to share information about domestic violence with young people. Getting that information into the hands of young people will help to break the cycle of abuse found in many families.

Turning Point serves 12 counties and has an office in Madison. Its toll-free, 24-hour help/crisis line is (800) 221-6311. All services are free. Its website is

The cycle will only stop when victims gather the strength to say "no more." If you are an abuse victim, or know of someone who is, make the first step a call to Turning Point.