Good News for Victims

Announcing some good news on the domestic violence front, Attorney General Jim Hood says that the Domestic Violence Division has made significant progress in educating the state's law enforcement, judges and attorneys. In the past year, the division has sponsored or participated in 31 trainings, providing information and instruction to more than 2,000 individuals.

Speaking at a Monday press conference kicking off Domestic Violence Awareness month, Hood said that the division's goal is not just to help the victims of domestic abuse, but to break the cycle of violence. "Little boys learn from their fathers," Hood said, "and this is learned behavior that we can stop if we can stop it an earlier stage."

The division has also written publications designed to assist law enforcement, including "Responding to a Domestic Violence Call," a quick reference guide outlining procedures, laws, interviewing techniques and more. Every law enforcement agency in Mississippi will receive copies of the guide for their officers. "Because emotions are so high," in domestic cases, Hood said, "they are the most volatile situations" for officers. The division hopes to reduce the danger by educating law enforcement on procedures.

Heather Wagner, director of the division, said that Wal-Mart is supporting their efforts by donating all of their expired disposable cameras, which still function, to local law enforcement to back up their reports.

"Many agencies do not have the funding to purchase a camera in order to photograph the crime scene, to document the investigation or the injuries to the victim," Wagner said.

In another bright spot, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson announced a $698,000 Department of Justice grant to Tougaloo College in a Sept. 25 press release. The grant, from the DoJ Office on Violence Against Women, supports programs for grantees to learn how to overcome obstacles and incorporate practices addressing violence against women.


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