A new initiative has been discussed amongst different law enforcement agencies as well as other agencies involved in providing services to victims. The belief is that this strategy can have an impact on our community as well as serve as education.

My name is Melissa Vasquez. I am the Legal advocate at Casa de Misericordia. My duties are to assist victims of domestic violence in knowing their rights about obtaining an Order of Protection and what to do when the Order is violated. I also serve as a serve as liaison with law enforcement agencies and the victims, which helps the victims establish trust and communication with the different agencies as their case proceeds through the criminal justice system. 

In September 2015, I had the pleasure of attending a conference in Denver, Colorado. The conference’s aim was to help broaden agencies’ responses to Domestic Violence. There were many interesting initiatives and speakers but there was one that resonated well with me. It was an initiative that has been implemented in North Carolina. The initiative takes a proactive approach and focuses on deterrence.

The police department in High Point, North Carolina developed the initiative from Professor David M. Kennedy’s deterrence approach which has proven effective in controlling other crime-related offenses. According to North Carolina’s Chief Marty Sumner, “Kennedy suggests that not enough attention has been paid to controlling the offender, as traditional approaches have placed heavy emphasis on helping the victim avoid patterns of abuse, on disengaging from abusers, and on physically removing themselves from abusive settings.” In High Point, offenders are categorized amongst 4 categories. Offenders would be dealt with on a case by case manner and depending on what level they fall under.

The initiative involves a collaborative effort among different agencies in order to help address domestic violence but more importantly to shift into a more proactive approach where deterrence is the focus. According to Chief Sumner, “One of the strategy’s critical features is the ability to focus on offenders at earlier stages of offending, before the secrecy of offending entrenches and violence escalates.”

The initiative has been discussed amongst different law enforcement agencies as well as other agencies involved in providing services to victims. The belief is that this strategy can have an impact on our community as well as serve as education.