Reducing Intimate Partner Violence
Published October 22nd, 2013
On average, more than three woman and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.
A new team in North Central Florida is breaking ground in the fight against domestic violence.
On Monday Alachua County became the first community in Florida to launch a high risk team that focuses on intimate partner violence.
So far this year there have been two intimate partner violence homicides in alachua county.
Even though two homicides is not a large number, local officials said thats two too many.
"Domestic violence is one of the ugliest things I have ever seen in my life," said Jpe Johnson.
Fourteen years ago, Johnson's ex-wife Polly fell victim to domestic violence.
"Her throat was cut. Her larynx was crushed and evidently she put her hand up like this and then he shot her through the neck. She was butchered," said Johnson.
Johnson shared his story at the launch of the high risk team, which was created to reduce the intimate partner violence in Alachua County.
"We want to make sure that we are utilizing all of the resources that we have to create a communication network that will allow us to identify the victims who are at highest risk, the batters who are putting them there and then figure out a way to ensure that that victim is protected in a way that allows her to continue to live her life and holding that batterer accountable for his actions," said Theresa Beachy who is the Executive Director of Peaceful Paths.
The high risk team is made up of representatives of Peaceful Paths, local law enforcement agencies, the state attorneys office, court services, victim advocacy groups and other partners.
"They will meet monthly to assess the situation involving a specific victim and specific offender. Track them and provide the victim services and monitor the offender so that offender does not offend again," said Sheriff Sadie Dearnell.
The team will be using law enforcement assessments to determine which victims will be contacted.
Beachy said the one type of homicide that can be prevented is an intimate partner relationship because the signs are there in advance.
"When people say if you leave I will kill you, if you take my child I will kill you. When those threats are out there and we can see the pattern develop and the escalation that occurs in those relationships, we have the ability to intervene as a community," said Beachy.
Beachy anticipates the team will be working with about 25 victims a year and the first meeting is the week before Thanksgiving.
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