Law enforcers focus on how to best help abuse victims

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When a battered spouse calls out for help, often it's either the police or a crisis counselor on the other line. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To help educate the community, several law enforcement agencies are working with the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non-Violence.

Biloxi police say when an officer goes out on a domestic violence call, sorting out exactly what happened is difficult.

"They're usually very chaotic and there are a lot of things that have to be figure out," Lt. Jim Adamo said. "You have to figure out what's going on and who's affected and how our actions will affect the situation. And that's where the Women's Center For Non-Violence really comes into play a lot."

The Center For Non-Violence is tying purple ribbons to squads cars for National Domestic Violence Awareness month. It's a way to show the community about the importance of working together to end domestic abuse.

"Making sure that the officers are trained, which they are. And they're sensitive and aware of domestic violence so that whenever they do see a problem, they know that we're available and what the options are so they can pass that information along to victims is a big part of it as well," said Renee Davis with Gulf Coast Women's Center For Non-Violence.

Experts say victims come from all races, religions, income levels and walks of life. And those who walk out of abusive relationships need to know they have support.

"We want to make sure that perpetrators are prosecuted when the victim chooses to press charges. So having a good working relationship makes sure things are seamless from the time that an officer arrives to scene all the way to the court system," Davis said.

Experts say another misconception is that domestic violence is a result of anger management problems. They say it is actually about power and control, and the abuse can be either physical, emotional, verbal or all of the above.

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