Editors note: October is domestic violence month and the Domestic Violence Coalition of Roosevelt and Curry County is hoping to raise public awareness of the domestic violence problem in our community.
In 2005 there were 26,940 domestic violence incidents reported to law enforcement in New Mexico. Forty nine percent of adult victims that seek help from domestic violence support providers admit that they did not report the incident to police. Roosevelt County in 2004 had 17 domestic violence cases processed by the District Court, 76 by the Magistrate Court with 76 and 59 percent convicted respectively, according to a press release from the Hartley House, a domestic violence shelter serving Clovis and Portales.
The PNT conducted a brief question and answer interview with Patrol Sgt. Brack Rains of the Portales Police Department about responding to domestic violence calls.
Q: How many domestic violence calls do you respond to in any given week?
A: On average, about five a week.
Q: Do you think that domestic violence is on the rise in this area?
A: I think it stays the same, a lot of that has to do with reporting of the crimes. I think there is more than reported, there is fear of retaliation if the call is made as well as the financial and emotional aspect.
Q: What is usually the outcome of these types of situations?
A: The majority of the time it is cleared by an arrest. If we believe that a battery or assault has taken place, or there is some type of physical evidence such as bruising, furniture broken or torn apart (an arrest is made).
Q: Is there anything the community can do to prevent this from happening?
A: Education and public awareness is much greater than it used to be. These incidents used to occur in the home and police had no business there. If reported, the court makes offenders attend counseling and other things and that helps knock down repeat offenders.
For information or help call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE or (800) 799-7233. Locally, contact the Hartley House, shelter for domestic violence victims, at 762-0050.
— Compiled by PNT Staff Writer Ashley Lee