Emotional side effects of domestic violence - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Emotional side effects of domestic violence

July 16, 2007

Albany -- Sunday's hostage standoff at 1507 5th Avenue escalated from an all to frequent event, family violence.

Mac Wilcox is a marriage and family therapist at the Vision Foundation in Albany, he says, domestic violence is not on the rise, but more in the public eye. He adds, "the awareness has escalated not necessarily the violence."

The suspect arrested in yesterday's hostage standoff, 30-year-old Carl Lamond Smith, had a relationship with all of the victims involved. Police say his children were present when he slashed their mother and grandmother with a knife. Like many domestic abusers, Smith has a history of violence.

"Generally speaking, the person that can't manage the way they express their anger that early on starts with violence, particularly in relationships, will continue to expand because they have no control to learn how to take care of it," says Wilcox.

Police were especially concerned about the most innocent victims, the children. They say Smith held his 3-year-old daughter at knife point.

"The suspect was brandishing a large knife, he did grab the three year old and backed himself up into one of the rooms and barricaded himself inside,"says Kenn Singleton of the Albany Police Department.

After more than three hours of negotiations, the situation ended without more violence. But for all of the victims involved, especially the young hostage victim, the healing process has just begun.

"Violence in any family is the most devastating thing to destroy a child's development," adds Wilcox.

And while the police tape and flashing lights are now gone, unfortunately, the psychological scars may take longer to fade.

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