Dispatch Series on Domestic Violence is Excellent

The Columbus Dispatch in a four part investigative series that ended today, reported on the fear, pain, and obstacles to justice that victims of domestic violence face. A link to the series that began Sunday can be found here.

While advocates for victims of domestic violence have known the extent of the problem for years, it took an investigation by The Columbus Dispatch for Ohio politicians to start talking about it.

Senate President Bill M. Harris said he was “alarmed” by the findings of a Dispatch investigation that show tolerance and indifference to a crime with profound effects on society.

“This is a complex problem with no easy answers,” said the Ashland Republican. “I am committed to opening a dialogue with experts, advocates and legislators on any constructive ideas to better protect Ohio victims of domestic violence.”

I hope he means that and does not forget his commitment once the memory of the series fades.

Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, said he would be open to taking a holistic approach to fixing flaws in state law regarding domestic violence.

“We need to do more to protect victims of domestic violence,” Budish said. “We should be looking at whether there are adequate penalties for repeat offenders.

Some advocates believe their should be jail time after the first offense. I spent four years working with male batterers in a 40 week program. Seldom did I see any serve significant jail time.

Georgia is one of at least 16 states that require batterer-intervention counseling. Ohio is not among them.

While the criminal penalties in Ohio are woefully insufficient, at least in Central Ohio, the good news is almost every batterer I have seen has been required to complete the 40 week intervention program. The session’s are based on the Duluth Model and focus on domestic violence being about power and control and not about just “losing it.” I am not sure what other cities are doing as far as counseling, but you might want to find out.

One area I believe the series did not focus on enough is the emotional abuse victims face. It’s not always about being physically assaulted, it’s also about the psychological abuse that perpetrators will use as power to control their victim(s).

Still, It’s an excellent series.

Ohio has about eight times as many shelters for animals as for victims of domestic violence. Few other crimes touch as many lives and receive so little attention.

I suggest all Ohioans read the series to learn more about the prevalence of domestic violence in our state.

Day 1: Repeat domestic-violence offenders get off easy in Ohio
Lawmakers call for holistic approach to domestic-violence laws