Domestic Violence

Fighting Back

Confronting domestic violence in New Hampshire

By Alyssa Dandrea

Photos by Elizabeth Frantz and Geoff Forester


Nine-year-old Lily sits on the lap of her grandfather, Michael Renkert, as the family talks about Renkert’s late daughter and Lily’s mother, Sarah Balch, at their home in Rumney. Sarah’s two girls were adopted by Michael and Donna Renkert in September 2014.

Day 1: A family grapples with the deadly consequences

Unforgotten: ‘I do deserve to have a life of my own’

Grim statistics tell only part of the story of domestic violence in N.H.


Lizabeth Velez takes her children, Alex, 11, and Abigail, 13, to a supervised visit with their father, her ex-husband, at the Merrimack County Visitation Center in Boscawen. They see their father once a week inside a monitored room.

Day 2: Escaping abuse when children are involved

Enduring pain: ‘I have to still work to get stronger’

Effort to revive supervised visitation centers in N.H.

Safety first at Boscawen visitation center


Scott Hampton, the founder of Ending the Violence, lists the different types of abuse on a white board in Concord.

Day 3: Offenders face accountability and learn about safe relationships

Ending the abuse: 'I had to get out or I wasn’t going to be alive for my kids’

Offenders face accountability, learn about safe relationships


Concord police Officer Laura Spaulding attends a Building for Hope groundbreaking ceremony for the Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire in Concord on May 11.

Day 4: A Concord police officer finds her calling


Called to serve: ‘One of the reasons I became a police officer was to protect victims'

From domestic violence victim to community mentor


Click on Infogram to enlarge.


If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence, advocates are available 24/7 to provide free and confidential support through the statewide hotline at 1-866-644-3574. You don’t have to be in crisis to reach out.

The Domestic Violence Emergency (DOVE) provides free legal representation for qualifying survivors of domestic violence at final restraining order hearings. Learn more by calling the hotline or your local crisis center. (A complete list of the state’s 13 crisis centers can be found at

New Hampshire Legal Assistance Domestic Violence Advocacy Project also represents survivors of domestic abuse at restraining order hearings, as well as in divorce and parenting cases. Contact your local crisis center to see if you qualify for a referral.

The Victims’ Compensation Program helps victims of violent crime with expenses directly related to their injuries. Call 603-271-1284 to learn how to apply.

The Address Confidentiality Program helps victims who have permanently left abusive situations and have not created any local or state records using their new address. Participants can use the substitute mailing address for a driver’s license, car registration, food stamps, etc. Call 603-271-1240.

Ending the Violence offers domestic and sexual violence education programs for offenders. For more information, call 603-988-5356.

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