Domestic violence is on the rise

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 9, 2002

In today’s Butler County Sheriff Report, eight incidences of domestic violence were recorded, and two of those eight led to an arrest.

Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of divorce throughout the nation, and as divorce is steadily increasing, so is domestic violence.

According to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, in the calendar year of 1997, there were 24,651 violent offenses reported, 18 percent of which were domestic violence incidents.

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Violent offenses are categorized as homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Simple assault is not considered a violent offense, however, there were 24,987 domestic simple assaults in 1997, which makes it the most prevalent domestic violence charge.

The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center also reported that 2,822 incidences of domestic violence occurred in Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Elmore,

Lowndes, and Montgomery counties in 1997, up from 1,766 in 1993.

Many times, when domestic violence is discussed, most think of husbands attacking wives. However, domestic violence works both ways.

In a 1974 comparison study, it was reported that 47 percent of husbands had been violent toward their wives, and 33 percent of wives had treated their husbands with violence.

However, many incidences are not reported due to fear of further abuse. There are many agencies in this area that provide support to victims who want to remain anonymous.

One agency, the Family Sunshine Center in Montgomery, provides services to a seven county area, including Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Crenshaw, Elmore, Lowndes, and Montgomery counties. The center provides a 24-hour crisis line and non-residential counseling to battered adults, abused children, and adult survivors of incest. The center also has a batterers' counseling program. The center maintains a residential shelter for victims of family violence, and has support groups for battered women who are in a violent relationship or who have left a violent relationship.

It also offers support groups for children of battered women, teenagers who have suffered sexual abuse, mothers of sexually abused children, male batterers and female batterers. Programs that teach the recognition and prevention of abuse are available to school age children, teachers, and the community, according to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.

Domestic violence is illegal, and there is no excuse for allowing it to happen. If you or someone you know is involved in a violent relationship, don’t pretend it isn’t happening. Take life into your own hands by calling for help.