Domestic violence persists, needs an entire community's efforts to stop it, and it's an epidemic that knows no boundaries, a Casper Police Detective said Sunday.

"It affects every race, every age, every sex, every socio-economic, religious and personal belief relationship," Geri Reble said at the Self Help Center's annual candlelight vigil for domestic violence awareness month to mourn for victims and to celebrate survivors.

Scores of supporters attended the event at the Tate Pumphouse on Sunday evening including survivors of abuse and sexual assault, law enforcement, prosecutors, and about 20 motorcyclists who belong to Bikers Against Child Abuse.

They lit candles and walked on the bridge over the North Platte River to toss flowers to honor and remember victims and those whose lives have been lost to domestic violence.

Reble has investigated about 500 cases of domestic violence that have led to the imprisonment of about 40 perpetrators during her work in Colorado Springs and Casper, she said. Many cases don't work their way through the judicial system, she added.

Breaking the cycle of domestic violence is hard, she said.

"There are survivors, and there are survivors who survive as a couple, but I would say that's very slim," Reble said.

"But there are survivors who walk away and teach their children about healthy relationships, and then actually go on to get married in a healthy environment," she said.

For that to happen, law enforcement and the justice system need the help of community and family members to educate themselves and encourage victims to seek help.

"We have to encourage the victims through the system with a multidisciplinary response to hold the offenders accountable, and try to get that behavior changed or at least get that victim safe," she said.

The Self Help Center recently moved its operations to Evansville where it has more space for counseling and operations, and where it plans to build a emergency shelter.

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