Domestic violence awareness observed in local area

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Domestic violence leaves behind victims in its wake no matter what the community. Portales and Clovis communities are no exceptions.

And whether it’s law enforcement, church members, shelter workers or district court workers, there are people who try to help domestic violence victims. During nationally-recognized “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” eastern New Mexico organization and agency members will have a panel discussion to talk about domestic violence and what victims can do.

Orlando Ulibarri, legal assistant for the Domestic Violence Hearing Office of the Ninth Judicial District, said he has seen an increase in domestic violence cases. Ulibarri, who has been working for the office for nine years, estimates 600 new petitions for domestic violence in the last year for Curry County and between 150 to 200 new petitions in Roosevelt County.

“It’s one of the most frequent calls we receive,” Portales Police Department Capt. Lonnie Berry said. “If we can see (physical) evidence then we can make an arrest.”
Ulibarri said a combination of things have lead to the increase in domestic violence petitions, including more of an awareness from victims that they can go to law enforcement for help.

Ulibarri works in Ninth Judicial District Judge Fred Hensley’s office. Hensley presides over domestic violence cases in the Ninth and 10th Judicial District.

Berry and Ulibarri said the holiday season is when many domestic violence calls are most common. Domestic violence incidents can arise for various reasons, but the number one reason in Portales is alcohol, according to Berry.

“That’s why we have long weekends during the holidays,” Berry said. “Unfortunately, right now, meth is adding to the domestic violence problem.”

Curry and Roosevelt Counties each have victim’s advocates who help those who have to go through the ordeals. Lory Adams is the victim’s advocate in Roosevelt County, while there are two victim’s advocates in Curry County.

Grace Orozco, who is a victim’s advocate in Curry County, said many incidents simply go unreported.

“Sometimes they were raised in a home that had domestic violence and when they grow up they believe it’s acceptable,” Orozco said. “They’re used to that lifestyle. We encourage them and try to make them become self-independent. We try to stop the cycle from repeating.”
Orozco said victim’s are referred to the Hartley House (The Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, Inc.) in Clovis.

Professionals from different agencies in Curry and Roosevelt County will participate on the panel discussion at 6 p.m. on Oct. 20 in the Becky Sharp Auditorium on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University.

Those who need help with domestic violence can contact the hotline, 769-0305 and the Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence at 762-0050. Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence representatives also have group meetings to help victims at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at 220 Main Street in Clovis.

Those who need help in Portales can contact the First Baptist Church at 356-6761.