Metro works to reduce domestic violence cases, protect survivors - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Metro works to reduce domestic violence cases, protect survivors

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A new report shows that every type of crime is decreasing in Davidson County except for domestic violence, but city leaders have a plan to fix that.

Almost half of all the crimes reported in Davidson County in 2012 involved domestic violence, yet more than 60 percent of all domestic violence cases are dismissed, retired or simply not prosecuted.

Mayor Karl Dean made it clear Wednesday he is targeting domestic violence with two big resources: money and people.

The mayor has created a new position of domestic violence coordinator, who will make sure everyone in the criminal justice process is interacting and there are no gaps along the way.

"My sense of what the report does is it focuses on the victims rather than anyone else. It's a safety assessment that looks for gaps," Dean said. "The goal was to fill in those gaps."

For the first time, Metro police officers will actually conduct welfare checks on people under an order of protection.

"We will get a list of all the current orders of protection. We'll review them for repeat offenders. We'll review these individuals for circumstances that might be becoming more aggressive in nature," said Capt. Kay Lokey, with the Metro police domestic violence unit. "We're going to push this out to patrol officers and simply knock on the door and say, 'How are you? I understand you recently got an order of protection. Has he or she contacted you?'"

This is important, because many times in domestic violence cases, the will of the victim to prosecute is tested immediately.

"There's a much greater sense that if you provide the victim at the very beginning of the experience with support and a supportive relationship, the outcomes are different," said Sue Fort White, executive director of the group Our Kids.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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