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Increase in Dallas domestic violence troubles police chief

Domestic violence can be a difficult subject to speak about, even for law enforcement and others who work with victims. Conversations about the issue are made particularly difficult when the discussion centers around an increase in occurrences, as any Dallas family violence attorney knows.

Recently, the Dallas police chief spoke to city council members about the rise in serious cases of domestic violence. Specifically, murders relating to domestic violence have noticeably increased: in 2011, there were 10 total domestic violence murders in Dallas, while in 2012, there have been 25. Some speculate that ongoing economic challenges may be a factor in the increase in domestic violence murders.

Over the last two years, the Dallas Police Department has changed how the department responds to domestic violence calls. They added detectives to the family violence unit, from 12 up to 29 detectives, and introduced expedited filing of misdemeanor family violence incidents.

More recently, however, a pilot program to assess the "lethality" of a domestic violence situation was introduced. Since implementation of these practices, area domestic violence shelters have seen an increase in both hotline phone calls and victims coming to the shelter.

Domestic violence is not limited to physical violence. In fact, emotional and psychological abuse can be just as damaging to families. This is why domestic violence is such a critical family law issue.

Fortunately, however, there are resources available to those who are impacted by domestic violence. Victims can work with a family law professional to assess their options to resolve the issue. One of the first steps may be to seek a protective order from the court, which requires the abuser to cease contact with the victims. These orders can specify specific places the person committing acts of violence must avoid, including places of work. Families can work with an attorney to explore additional solutions designed to protect the interests of those affected.

Source: Dallas Morning News, "Dallas Police Chief David Brown tells council domestic-violence murder is on the rise," Tanya Eiserer, Dec. 10, 2012

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