Fatality report reveals new problem in Lowndes County
May 16, 2007
Lowndes County - The Haven Battered Women's Shelter works 24 hours a day to stop domestic violence in Lowndes County. "We have a 22 bed emergency bed shelter and 9 programs to help the victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse," says Mandy Rowe, Executive Director of the Haven in Valdosta.
But too many times they've seen domestic violence turn deadly. "The average woman leaves seven times before she leaves on her own or in a body bag," she says.
A fatality review just released by the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence shows nine of the 127 domestic violence deaths in Georgia in 2005 occurred in Lowndes County, one of the highest in the state.
Those statistics have police and other agencies working harder than ever to stamp out domestic violence. "We are never going to be happy with what we are doing until we can report we've had zero fatalities in domestic violence cases," says Commander Brian Childress of the Valdosta Police.
They are asking families, teachers, and even neighbors to look for signs. "I cannot tell you how many times I've answered a domestic violence call where the neighbors have called in," he says.
To take advantage of the free educational and awareness programs offered by the police department. "We have a specifically designed power point presentation that talks about the cycle of violence and battered women's syndrome."
And use the Haven and other organizations to get victims out of harms way. "We help with rent assistance, utility assistance, things that will help them get into a better situation, a safer situation for themselves and their children," Rowe says.
And hope their call to action will help save lives.
Georgia currently ranks seventh in the county for it's rate of men who kill women in single victim homicides.