Pssst…They are coming…Or are they already here?
Family advocacy centers are a relatively new innovation in the “War on Domestic Violence.” They are quickly following in the footsteps of child advocacy centers. Many communities are combining the two into one super center. The City of Phoenix Arizona may have been the first to create a strictly domestic violence center upon opening the Family Advocacy Center in August 1999. The Phoenix model is a good indicator of the self fulfilling prophecy behind Family Advocacy Centers, “Build It — They Will Come.”
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Statistics of cases from the Phoenix Center show:
- Since August 1999, Phoenix has had 16,439 domestic violence “contacts” in which 59% have received “services.”Translated, this figure means roughly 9,700 domestic violence cases in five years since the opening of the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center.
How many of those cases resulted in criminal convictions could not be ascertained.
The first known Family Advocacy Center in Texas opened its doors in January of 2002. The City of Irving Family Advocacy Center describes its goal to “bring together those police units and outside agencies that provide support, prosecution, and therapy for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.” To no one’s surprise, the Irving Police Department adopted a ”Zero Tolerance“ stance on domestic violence. Again, not surprisingly, Irving boasts of rising statistical increases in the number of domestic violence cases received since the creation of its Family Advocacy Center. Consistent with Phoenix, the Irving police department web site does not cite statistics regarding actual criminal convictions.
Rest assured, a Family Advocacy Center is coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
According to the Department of Justice, the federal government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop family advocacy centers (United States Department of Justice Fact Sheet on The President’s Family Justice Initiative).
Collin County, Texas is one of the communities applying for the federal grant money. However, a spokesman for the Collin County District Attorney’s office indicated the county:
“would pursue the center even if it did not win the grant. But without financial backing, the project would take longer.”Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition, March 14, 2004, “Groups Unite To End Domestic Violence
North Texas is an active participant in the domestic violence industry. Dallas and Denton Counties have instituted specialty family violence courts, in which domestic violence cases are almost the only cases on the docket. Specialized courts allow prosecutors and judges to create a uniform method to streamline cases. The accused faces a tremendous obstacle in a domestic violence court. The court’s very existence is silently predicated upon convicting as many defendants as possible. Only convictions can feed the system, as with convictions come fines, community supervision fees, battering intervention program costs, and other methods of pouring money back into the industry. Rising numbers of convictions mean the need for more prosecutors, judges, probation officers, domestic violence counselors, domestic violence programs, and more specialized domestic violence courts. Convictions also support the propaganda generating the movement: “domestic violence is prevalent in your community at an unconscionable rate.”
The government substantiates its national cry of a plethora of domestic violence through statistical data. Since there is not a nationwide plethora of domestic violence, the protectors needed assistance in the form of fuzzy math. The fuzzy math problem was easily solved. Simply cite statistics that show the number of domestic violence “contacts” or “services provided” rather than domestic violence convictions. By using “contacts” as the statistical benchmark, domestic violence crusaders are able to point to every police dispatch to a family argument as a “case.” These “cases” then secure the numbers needed for federal and state grant money.
Another problem facing the protectors was dealing with the end result of minuscule criminal activity. How would prosecutors secure criminal convictions in court after arresting lovers and family members for arguments and trivial push-shove matches? For this, the protectors and politicians needed to change the law.
If the “War on Domestic Violence” has been waged against you need the Domestic Violence Defense Team of Dunham & Jones, Attorneys at Law. We are experienced and prepared to fight for you! Contact Us NOW!