Archive for Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Domestic violence needs addressed

January 7, 2009

I am an optimist; I think I have always been one. I suspect I am also a bit naïve. That is why in 1988 when I was asked as a full time Municipal Court Judge to speak to the City of Wichita Domestic Violence Task Force about Municipal Court procedures involving “domestic battery” I felt certain we could soon have this situation under control.

With a few ordinance changes, a little better police training and some improved Court emphasis we could “fix” this domestic violence problem in a few years. — Two or three years, maybe five, certainly no more than 10 years to “fix” this problem. It is now 20 years later and unfortunately the problem is still a long way from being “fixed.”

In retrospect the success I had hoped for in those early days may never be possible. The problem of domestic violence is just too complex for such simple solutions, and in fact it may never be completely eradicated. However, during the past 20 years I have found there are other ways to measure success.

Public awareness of the problem of domestic violence is now much greater than it ever has been.

Training for law enforcement officers and personnel, prosecutors and judges at all levels is much better than ever before and is ongoing. Monetary grants for domestic violence programs, shelters and advocates have helped countless victims.

And, programs such as the 1-888-End-Abuse victims hot-line have had a tremendous impact.

Have we made some significant strides in 20 years? Yes. Do we still have a long way to go? Yes. Will we ever completely “fix” the problem of domestic violence? Probably not. Should we ever stop trying? Never.

Like I said, I am an optimist.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, you can call 1-888-END ABUSE (1-888-363-2287) to find resources for help.

— Honorable Judge Harold Flaigle of the 18th Judicial District serves as a member of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board:

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