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Gallup Sun

Thursday, Feb 27th

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Reducing domestic violence

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What it really takes

What causes violence? Why has stopping it proven so challenging?

There are undoubtedly multiple causes of domestic violence, but the most important question isn’t what causes violence. It’s how to prevent it.

Proven solutions

A community that does not tolerate domestic violence.

In places where violence is not tolerated, in either word or deed, violence is less common.

Coordinated justice system that emphasizes accountability.

A criminal justice system that is coordinated, and that holds people who violate the law accountable, will result in decreased violence. The opposite is, of course, also true. Where there is little, or no accountability, and consequences are too few or altogether absent (known as punishment avoidance) violence will increase.

Services that are well funded and effective.

Domestic violence programs are the backbone of their communities in many areas across the state. In some places, where services are sparse, they are the only safety net available.

Increases in funding over the years have not kept pace with costs-reimbursement rates from the state and went largely unchanged over the last 20 years while costs grew. This year we commend the state for proposing needed increases and for recognizing that an investment in domestic violence prevention and services will pay off.

We know what to do and we should do it. But let us remember that no one group can make this happen alone. Reducing violence requires a full system approach and the involvement of our communities. It’s all hands on deck. That’s how change will occur. In fact, it’s the only way.

By Pam Wiseman
New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Executive Director