Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Police department to host awareness, prevention seminar

October 13, 2005

This month is spooky for some because of its association with Halloween. However, for Basehor police chief Terry Horner, even more frightening than the ghoulish masks to be seen Oct. 31 are statistics he received regarding an escalating problem in millions of American homes.

Domestic violence.

October is designated as Domestic Violence month, and law enforcement agencies across the country are attempting to raise awareness to the problem.

As Horner indicated, national statistics are indeed terrifying and those cited by the police chief include: 95 percent of all domestic violence victims are female; every 15 seconds a woman is beaten, raped or killed, and battery is the single-largest cause of injuries to women.

"Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation or gender," Horner said. "It affects every walk of life, whether that's lower, middle or the upper class of our society.

"It is not only a concern in our country, but the city of Basehor as well," he added.

According to a recent compilation of the city's crime statistics thus far in 2005, domestic violence cases are up 33 percent from this same time a year ago. The police department has investigated 15 domestic violence cases so far this year, up from 10 cases from the same time period last year.

"And we still have three months left of this year," said Horner, who added that, at the present rate, domestic violence cases could easily reach 20 or more. "This tells me we need to be doing more to combat domestic violence in our city."

The police department plans to do just that.

Later this month, Horner is planning to offer a domestic violence awareness and prevention class for local residents. Final plans have not yet been arranged, but the police chief said he would announce the time, date and place of the class next week.

"With the increase I'm seeing, I feel it's our responsibility as a police department to do something," he said. "We want to offer this to any community member that wants to attend. Anyone is welcome, male or female."

Horner, who has conducted similar classes in his past law enforcement stints and found them very useful, said the home lives of those attending the class would be kept in the "strictest of confidence."

Handouts and other literature, detailing warning signs and other traits of domestic violence offenders, are available at the police department. Those picking up the information may remain anonymous, Horner said.

While the police department will be careful not to violate the confidentiality of those being abused, Horner said his department doesn't encourage victims to remain quiet.

Anyone seeking assistance from domestic violence is urged to contact the local crisis hotline at (913) 682-9131 or (800) 644-1441. The police department may also be contacted at (913) 724-1370.

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