Editorial: All must get involved to fight rise of family-related domesic violence

Jun. 23, 2013 @ 10:42 AM

One need only to scan the daily arrest reports we receive and publish from the sheriff’s office to know that domestic violence and family violence are regular events in this community. But it’s a problem found all over. The incidents are growing, both in this state and around the country.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a report last week that focused on domestic violence that occurs between family members. “Family Violence Study 2012”  is based on offenses reported by law enforcement agencies to the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System in 2012. The shocking truth of the numbers: some 14.5 percent —more than one in six — of all crimes reported were domestic in nature.

Of the 2012 domestic violence offenses, 41,708 or half were reported as having a family victim to offender relationship. TBI notes that the parameters of the study did not include certain valid domestic violence relationships, particularly boyfriend/girlfriend, which was the most commonly reported domestic violence relationship in 2012. The study also gives insight into the influence of drugs and alcohol in familial violence.

Consider these findings from the study:

n Simple assault was the most frequently reported offense accounting for 67.5 percent of family violence offenses outnumbering all other offenses by more than 4 to 1.

n Females were nearly two times more likely to be victimized than males.

n Offenders of familial kidnapping/abduction offenses in the state were most often parents accounting for almost 58 percent of all kidnapping/abduction offenses.

n White offenders were documented 1.8 times more often than black domestic violence offenders.

n Female parents were more likely to commit simple assault against their female children at 68 percent than male children at almost 32 percent.

n More than 17 percent of family violence offenses involved drugs or alcohol by the offender with the majority, 83 percent, using alcohol.

n In 2012, six juveniles were murdered by family members.

We are fortunate to have SafeSpace in our community. This agency based in Sevierville serves Cocke, Jefferson and Sevier counties by providing shelter, court assistance and more to victims of domestic violence. It will take all of us to solve the problem. SafeSpace can help the victims, but society has to step in tio change the numbers.