North Texas Daily

126 Domestic Violence cases in first three months of 2017

126 Domestic Violence cases in first three months of 2017

April 07
14:27 2017

In the first three months of 2017, a total of 226 charges of assault were reported by the Denton police on the Community Crime Map. Out of those, 126 were domestic disturbances.

On Jan. 21 a total of seven assaults were reported, this being the highest number, followed by March 15 when six assaults were reported. February had at least one case per day, other than Feb. 9, when an assault did happen but it didn’t involve a family.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.”

When Denton police receive a 9-1-1 call for a domestic disturbance, two officers are normally sent automatically. These calls are classified as “priority” and in cases when the line gets interrupted, another office is responsible for calling back to try and reach the victim.

“We got a 9-1-1 call, the operator heard a female scream and then the line disconnected,” Denton police spokesman Shane Kizer said while describing one of those domestic abuse cases.

Interruption of an emergency call is a crime, with a usual bond of $2500.

In this case, the call came from a cell phone, not a landline. The officers didn’t have an automatic address or a description of what was happening.

“If it is on a cell phone, it gets a little trickier but they got to where they pin the towers and it gets pretty close to the address,” said Kizer. “Often times too, with that person’s phone, it will bring a name and an address.”

When the police arrive at the scene of a domestic disturbance case, if the crime has just happened, they can arrest the aggressor. If they arrive and only the victim is at the scene, the officers take a statement and search the neighborhood for the criminal.

“When we are making an arrest it has to be on site, or the officer sees it or it is freshly after and we have credible witnesses there to articulate that the events did occur, or there has to be a warrant,” Kizer said.

The second step for the officers in this situation is photos of the victim to show any injuries. They also make a report of what happened, with details from the victim story and what they see in the scene. The officers advise the victim to contact them if the aggressor comes back.

If they are contacted a second time, police protocol is to control the situation, isolate both parties in different areas and get a statement and photos from the supposed criminal, which are attached to the victim’s file.

If the supposed criminal alleges no aggression from his or her part, the police do not have the legal right to make an arrest. Visual evidence of the victim being hurt does not prove, by law, that the supposed criminal was the one who caused it. In this situation, the officers make sure one of the parties leaves the residence.

In case the jury finds the supposed criminal guilty, the officers receive a warrant for the arrest and the victim is notified.

“What oftentimes happens with domestic abuse, the women will go back to them because they don’t have a way to support themselves,” Kizer said. “Especially when there are kids involved.”

A social worker hired by the police then provides free services for the victim, like a place to stay or help in connecting with family or somebody who can give the victim support. For financial support, Kizer said, “we may set her up with resources to help.”

Denton County Friends of Family is an organization available for victims of domestic abuse.

According to Friends of the Family’s website, their pupose is to “provide compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence, while partnering with our community to promote safety, healing and prevention.”The site also states that 1 in 4 women will experience some sort of domestic abuse. 

The organization has two 24 hours crisis lines, 940 382-7273 and 800 572-4031.

Featured image: Sexual assault awareness pamphlets are available at the Dean of Students Office.

About Author

Julia Contarelli

Julia Contarelli

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1 Comment

  1. Jim
    Jim April 11, 12:11

    As a graduate of your school, and being a constant pain in the ass, I went to law school and became a criminal defense lawyer. I have dealt with domestic violence cases from day one, and was not always defending the man. The one thing that was a constant, neither the victim or defendant had a college education. Reality gang, we are part of the solution.
    We are always after the fact. It is horrible, but it needs to be put out in the open: Domestic Violence (Or DOM REL in Copspeak) is a constant in the lower socio-economic reality. Trailer parks, and apartment complexes, are a constant playgrounds for Domestic Violence. It is excepted in that ring of reality because it is so common. We built this working-person quagmire.
    It sounds bad but is far worse. Two rule to live by: Be Safe and Remain Calm.

    Reply to this comment

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