Forum aims to address domestic violence following murders of Milwaukee mom, two daughters

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- At a forum aiming to address incidents of domestic violence incidents, the recent murders of a Milwaukee mother and her two daughters were at the forefront.

The bodies of 26-year-old Amarah Banks, 5-year-old Zaniya Ivery and 4-year-old Camaria Banks were found in a garage near 47th and Burleigh on Sunday, February 16. Police found them after interviewing Arzel Ivery -- Zaniya's father -- who had been arrested in Tennessee.

"These cases are always are always a trigger for me now especially what happened last week. I was one of the detectives that was on the scene and saw bodies in the garage," said Michael Washington, a detective with the Milwaukee Police Department.

Washington was one of dozens of people who shared their stories at the The Love Without Violence Forum about how domestic violence has touched their lives. The forum was held Thursday evening at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society Museum.

At the forum, members of the public were encouraged to ask questions. The questions quickly turned to the circumstances leading up to Banks' disappearance and death. Court documents show her neighbors called 911 the night before she was reported missing after hearing a woman screaming "Don't kill me."

Leaders of organizations aiming to address domestic violence said they meet regularly to come up solutions to the growing problem and now encourage the community to come together following recent incidents.

"I know what a serious problem this is in our community and I know we need more resources," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Advocates also emphasized a need to get away from victim blaming and instead hold the perpetrators responsible

"The message needs to be: Why are these men doing what they're doing?" Washington said.

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