Domestic violence seems more prevalent - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Domestic violence seems more prevalent

June 21, 2006

Albany -- 911, Police, and Fire Reports show that Albany Police had been called to Demarco and Teresa Buckholt's home three times this week for domestic violence reports.

On the 19th, the caller canceled the request for police before officers arrived. On the 20th, officers went to the home and investigated domestic violence, but did not arrest anyone.

There are also reports that police went to the home at 2:00AM Wednesday morning, but again made no arrests.

Three people have been killed in the last month in Albany in domestic violence arguments, law enforcement say they are not surprised, because they see it all the time.

When 25-year-old Tasha George was gunned down on her lawn Friday, courts had issued a temporary protective order against her boyfriend, Travis Smith, to keep him away. Now he is charged with her murder.  

Victim Witness Assistance Directory Sybil Collins said, "We see this everyday, everyday. I don't think folks realize just how bad a problem domestic violence and child abuse and all that is in our community."

This daily Domestic violence crosses all economic, social, or racial lines.  "Age, We have domestic violence with the elderly. Sons beating up their wives, killing their mothers, vice versa. It's an on going thing," Collins said.

Georgia law requires Police officers to try to determine a primary aggressor when they're sent on domestic violence calls, and to arrest that aggressor when there is evidence that physical abuse has occurred.  "It's not an easy task to do sometimes, to tell which one started the fight, or which one is the primary aggressor. So you got a lot of things you have got to consider when you make those charges," Assistant Chief District Attorney Dick Hand said.

Police say in this arson case, there was no physical abuse, so they made no arrest. Police, prosecutors, and advocates say people can not understand why victims often return to abusive homes, even after Police are called.  "There is financial, there may be children. How do I support myself, how I support my children, what I am going to do. And so they don't leave," Collins said.

Just in Albany in recent weeks, Charlie Goolsby was charged with murder, for shooting his wife Betsy Goolsby.

Lawanda Dawson is in jail, charged with beating her boyfriend Alfred Sutton to death over the weekend.

Often when domestic violence victims get ready to leave, the violence escalates. "The majority nationwide will die. Because when they leave, the perpetrator will go and find them and kill them," Collins said.

Prosecutors and advocates say domestic violence makes big news when people die, but they see victims every day.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=DomesticViolence/Wallace

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