Orlando Sentinel Editorial: Domestic Violence Commisson Tames the Toll
February 19, 2013
In 2005, Orange County's Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Commission convened. Its mission: propose ways to shore up how the county managed the frequent but seldom-punished crime.
As a result, a domestic-violence court was established, injunction filing was eased, first-responders received training regarding domestic violence signs. Changes that sparked a 41 percent jump in abuse reporting and a 14 percent uptick in injunctions granted.
Fast-forward eight years. Since 2011 the county has mourned nearly 40 domestic-violence-related deaths — a toll that prompted Orange Mayor Teresa Jacobs wisely to dust off the panel. Its new charge: Probe the justice system for cracks that lead to life-shattering violence, and devise solutions and ways to execute them.
The county's Domestic Violence Commission panel will carry a "survivor-centric" focus, says Dick Batchelor, a former state representative and holdover from the 2005 panel. A report, complete with short-term and intermediate proposals, is expected in 90 days.
The county's recent body count underscores the indisputable need for answers. Answers that, if worthy, county officials mustn't let collect dust.
Answers that'll need funding. In 2005, the panel thought big — but found little cash to defray worthy ideas, such as arming police with PDAs to issue restraining orders on site. With this era's tighter budgets, securing funding may prove even more challenging. With lives in the balance, it's a challenge the county must meet.
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