Opinion Columns & Blogs

Domestic abuse is a growing problem

For most families, the holidays are a time to be thankful and share time together. Unfortunately, for some Kansas families this time of year can bring stress, anger and even violence.

It is absolutely critical that we raise awareness about the programs and services available to families in crisis. Many communities have shelters dedicated to protecting women, men and children from abusive family members. Some also have services to assist batterers in stopping abusive behavior and violence.

Significant efforts have been made in recent years to combat the ever-present problem of domestic abuse. My office stepped up efforts to help local shelters that assist families in crisis situations by increasing training for local programs, providing grant funding and improving services available to victims.

We also created the Domestic Violence Shelter Improvement Program, which encourages businesses and corporations to support domestic violence shelters across the state through monetary or in-kind contributions. Along with Walmart, we also developed an awareness campaign and distributed posters containing information about domestic violence services and prevention.

Recently, I established the Batterer Intervention Unit and Advisory Board, to develop effective batterer intervention programs throughout the state. We believe that developing these programs is a critical step toward improving our statewide response to domestic violence and better addressing a batterer's cycle of abuse.

My office also coordinated the development of the law enforcement model policy on stalking to better protect victims. We provided regional law enforcement training across the state regarding the new stalking law to ensure uniform response to these serious crimes.

With efforts being made on all sides of the problem, it is troubling that fatalities related to domestic violence are increasing. With economic stress and financial pressure, many more families may be in crisis. It is critical that each of us works to ensure that families in our communities have access to quality services. Domestic violence affects all Kansas communities.

With two major multiple homicides this year, the number of fatalities related to domestic violence is on the rise. If you or someone you know is struggling with abuse, please seek assistance from law enforcement or a domestic violence program. You can contact 888-END-ABUSE for assistance. You have a right to be safe.

To find out more about services available in your community, call the Attorney General's Victim Service Division at 800-828-9745.