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Thursday, July 31, 2008

[WA] Police chief murder-suicide brought changes, but not the solution

...Over the past weekend, we heard enough about two DV cases to remind us of the risk of letting our guard slip, and the importance of using all our tools wisely and at full strength... Both cases highlight the fact that no single player can safely and adequately protect a domestic violence victim...

There’s more we can do to stop domestic violence

The News Tribune
Kathleen Merryman kathleen.merryman@thenewstribune.com
Published: July 30th
[Excerpts]If any crime should make us more careful, more intuitive, it’s domestic violence. It’s a crime that demands we use every available tool every time to protect victims. No single element – not family, law enforcement, counselors or courts – can do the job alone. We’ve come a good long way from the days when, if victims spoke out, they risked being disbelieved, even blamed. Pierce County and Tacoma stepped beyond that after Tacoma Police Chief David Brame fatally shot his wife, Crystal Judson Brame, in a Gig Harbor parking lot five years ago. The fact that public officials surrounding that family dismissed classic danger signs elevated the event from a tragedy to a scandal. The Judson family then had the rare strength to wrench something of value out of that mess of grief and ruined lives. Thanks to them, and enlightened leaders in law enforcement and government, we have stronger laws protecting victims. We also have their daughter’s finest memorial, the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center. It’s a powerful asset precisely because it brings together so many of the tools DV victims need. Federal Way, too, has been a leader. It has developed a team of advocates for victims, with an additional focus on protecting children in households where domestic violence is an issue. As solid, comprehensive and innovative as these networks are, they cannot save everyone. Over the past weekend, we heard enough about two DV cases to remind us of the risk of letting our guard slip, and the importance of using all our tools wisely and at full strength... Both cases highlight the fact that no single player can safely and adequately protect a domestic violence victim. The fact that both women had asked the courts for orders protecting them from the former boyfriends is not a coincidence. The most dangerous time in a domestic violence situation is when the victim leaves. There will be plenty of blame flying around in the aftermath of these tragedies... This is a tragic, teachable moment, and a challenge to bring more care, more coordination, more intuition to the fight against domestic violence. Lives on both sides are at stake... [Full article here]

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