03/27/09 — Speak for them: Controlling domestic violence begins with getting involved

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Speak for them: Controlling domestic violence begins with getting involved

There is nothing sadder than a family destroyed by violence.

And according to statistics released from the state Attorney General's Office, the problem is getting worse.

Last year, 131 people died at the hands of a family member. So, Attorney General Roy Cooper is calling for more potential domestic violence victims to get court-ordered protection to try to keep that number from reaching even higher in 2009.

But that is only one of the steps necessary to start controlling the number of incidents and victims.

Tougher laws and more available intervention opportunities, whether it be counseling or detention, will help -- as will continued counseling for women and young girls about how to recognize an unhealthy relationship before it becomes a domestic violence case.

Teaching young women to stand on their own -- and equipping them with the skills they need to support themselves and their families -- will also give more of them the confidence and the means to make lives of their own, away from a potential abuser.

But there is a role for the rest of us, too.

Sometimes the co-workers, friends and family of a domestic violence victim know what kind of situation that person is in. They see the bruises, hear the emotional abuse or hear the stories from the victim herself.

By getting the potential victim help right away -- by getting involved -- it is very likely you could prevent another tragedy.

And all it takes is a phone call to a shelter hotline and a listening ear.

Published in Editorials on March 27, 2009 10:46 AM