LAWRENCE COUNTY - JULY 19, 2023 - In 2021 Lawrence County Coalition Against Domestic Violence developed a survey to identify gaps in services for people who are experiencing domestic violence back in 2020.
The results and findings of the survey has not been released to the public. Many questions still remain on how our 911 system, local law enforcement, prosecutor's office, non-profits, courts and judicial system as a whole reacts to the victim of domestic violence.
The survey was designed to facilitate an approach that prioritizes listening to the perspectives of people who have been impacted by domestic violence.
The survey was a collaborative effort by Hoosier Uplands, United Way South Central Indiana, Lawrence County Prosecutor's Office, Hoosier Hills PACT, and Lawrence County Probation Office.
One of the goals is to challenge the sense of normalcy that surrounds domestic violence situations in Lawrence County.
In 2021, Domestic violence cases constituted 33 percent of crimes reported to the Lawrence County Prosecutor's Office in 2020.
Lawrence County has been focused on the offenders that have committed the crime and willing to talk about the programs and what are doing for the offender.
However, the coalition has been trying to address the needs of the victims.
The Center Disease Control report filed over decade ago, the study focused on the cultural attitudes of the county regarding domestic violence. The social acceptance helps fuel the problem.
The survey is designed to put the experiences and perspectives of the domestic violence victims first.
Lawrence County Probation Officer Joe Diebert says Lawrence County has not done enough to address this issue in the past.
The survey researched on how the domestic violence victim was treated within the Lawrence County system. The survey intended to find out if the victim felt safer or less safe, did the victim get the services and resources that the victim needed.
This means from the time the 911 call was placed through the criminal justice system.
In October 2022, Hoosier Uplands has donated $48,000 to help bring awareness for victims of domestic violence. The money will be used to post electronic signage for the community awareness program for a total of four billboards, or one large billboard for three additional months.
Joe Diebert, manager of the Lawrence County Probation Department says the legal system has done a horrible job the victims of the domestic violence throughout the legal process in the court system.
In a Lawrence County Council meeting in October said " We need to be doing something better. We have left the victim out to dry,"
Diebert went on to say " We do a good job of throwing money at a problem, but in the end, we find no real solutions to those problems,"
"This is a real black eye on our Judicial system in how we are doing in regard to domestic violence," Diebert exclaimed.
In 2020, Indiana observed a concerning increase in domestic violence cases. In a report compiled by the Domestic Violence Network found that domestic violence deaths spiked last year with a 100 percent increase.
In that report showed that 40 percent of women and 27 percent of men are affected by domestic violence, outlining the issue disproportionally impacts women.
Domestic violence itself encompasses much more than the actual abuse of an indivdual. The traumatic experiences can have a lasting physiological and emotional impact that can be addressed through positive life changes, therapy, emotional support, and access to community resources.
The victims of domestic violence have trouble locating services and agencies that will be able to assist them following domestic violence issues.
The local coalition has a 211 number in getting all the information to the domestic violence victim in one location. If you are a domestic violence victim, seek help immediately, and find the resources you need at one location.
Lawrence County Zephyr will be finding out the results of the survey and what local officials are doing to address this major issue in the county.
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