NC Is Taking Domestic Violence Seriously
Sites throughout NC are taking a closer look at how to take domestic violence more seriously from a legal standpoint. Lexington is replicating High Point’s Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative and they began C- and D-list offender notifications on July 1, 2014. Thus far, 83 domestic violence offenders have been notified by the Lexington Police Department that the violence will no longer be tolerated. Offenders are told that they are now on a watch list for domestic violence offenders and that future offending will be met with swift, severe, and certain consequences. From now on the Police Department will focus attention on the offenders to change their behavior and it is no longer the victim’s responsibility to get out of the situation. Of those offenders who have been notified, only 10% have picked up an additional domestic violence charge after notification. In fact, the majority of offenders who have been notified aren’t picking up any charges after notification, domestic or otherwise.
Word about the Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative in Lexington is spreading quickly among the offender population. Bonds for domestic violence offenders are being set higher, prosecutors are working diligently to use levers to increase charges and potential associated punishments against domestic violence offenders, and there is now a bi-weekly working group that meets to discuss ongoing domestic cases and address gaps in the systems and processes surrounding how the community deals with domestic violence.
NC Network for Safe Communities is participating in the bi-weekly meetings to document the replication process as it unfolds in Lexington and is working with the Lexington Police Department to track data and evaluate the results of the effort.
The following link goes to a WRAL news segment on how cultural and legal changes will be important to addressing domestic violence in NC: http://www.wral.com/ending-abuse-requires-legal-cultural-change/13992581/