Ben Williamson – WTOC – CHATHAM CO., GA – There have been two domestic murder-suicides in less than week in Savannah.
Both cases involved men and women that were all under the age of 23.
After the murder-suicide that happened on Thursday, leaders with Safe Shelter met with District Attorney Meg Heap as well as members of her staff in order to map out an aggressive plan to address the growing number of domestic violence cases in Chatham County.
Heap believes in a holistic approach where law enforcement, prosecutors and counseling services work on the same page to address the growing concern.
“What we want to do now; we’re meeting next week, is to sit down and plan out ‘what do we want? A woman’s center, where it’s a place, you know.. does it include an investigator who specifically focuses on domestic violence? SCMPD has so many different types of crimes..we would love to see detectives, law enforcement that their sole job is domestic violence.”
“I am horrified. I am looking and we have had a lot of domestic violence murders as well as a lot of domestic violence cases in the past year. We have to do something,” said Heap.
Steps have already been taken to address the problem. For example, if you are accused of a domestic violence crime, you must appear before a judge and cannot simply bond out of jail. That judge can set special conditions before they are released.
“One is PSA’s. Trying to get that information out for everyone in the community. The other is training for our officers,” said Heap.
For example, like the training SCMPD officers just got on human trafficking. Heap wants to bring that same type of training regarding domestic violence. Officers have gotten training in the past but it may be time for a refresher. The District Attorney’s office is ready to help.
“You take a prosecutor that is their passion and they have received the training. They go out and give the training to the community not just law enforcement,” said Heap.
Training to know what to look out for. Whether that is eye witness accounts or social media monitoring.
“SCMPD has so many types of crimes so we would love to see detectives, law enforcement, that their main focus domestic violence,” said Heap.
The county will also look to the state, as well as the federal government.
“Funding. Federal funding that is out there and will start becoming available in the spring for a women’s center. For lack of a better word. It is a one stop shop for everything. You have a prosecutor housed there, you have Safe Shelter that deal with counseling and help for the women. You have law enforcement there,” said Heap. “Getting them all together so we can approach them in a holistic manner.”
To view original article, click here: District Attorney’s Office Responds to Domestic Murders
Posted on December 4, 2015 at 1:27 pm