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Spartanburg County task force launched to implement innovative strategy to tackle domestic violence

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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Home Front is an initiative that takes domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV) and shifts to an offender focus in combating IPV. Greer Police Chief Dan Reynolds spoke at the introduction to Home Front.
 
 

Spartanburg County 7th Circuit Solicitor

Home Front is an initiative that takes domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV) and shifts to an offender focus in combating IPV. Greer Police Chief Dan Reynolds spoke at the introduction to Home Front.

 

 

The state’s newest, and, to date, its only focused deterrence-based effort to combat domestic violence – Home Front – was launched Wednesday.

In a courtroom filled with local, state, and federal law enforcement and victim advocates, 7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette, along with Acting U.S. Attorney Beth Drake, officially launched the initiative.  It is only the fourth program in the nation to implement innovative strategy and the first to attempt it countywide.

Modeled after a program started in High Point, N.C., members of the Home Front task force began meeting earlier in the fall, gathering with representatives from every police department in the county as well as the Sheriff’s Office.  The state probation office in Spartanburg and SAFE Homes – Rape Crisis Coalition, also serve as critical partners in this effort.

Under the guidance of Barnette and High Point Chief Marty Sumner, Home Front grew from concept to reality. 

The Home Front strategy applies the evidence-based High Point focused deterrence approach to the problem of domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV) and shifts to an offender focus in combating IPV.

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.  High Point’s model and research suggests that early intervention is key in stopping the cycle of violence.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a community crime problem that costs the United States over $5.8 billion every year.

IPV is a major drain on law enforcement resources involving a high volume of calls, repeated calls to the same location, consuming large amounts of time and often resulting in injuries or death.

Intimate partner homicides make up 40–50 percent of all murders of women in the United States. Women who have experienced a history of IPV report more health problems than other women, they have a greater risk for substance abuse, unemployment, alcoholism, and suicide attempts (CDC).

Research shows the repeat intimate partner violence (IPV) offender tends to have rich criminal histories that include a wide range of both domestic violence and non-domestic violence offenses. Most of these offenders are known to the criminal justice system and can be easily identified. The repeat IPV offender is exposed to sanctions because of his pattern of criminal behavior.

This initiative uses an intervention framework containing the standard elements of focused deterrence with additional consideration for the victims to control and hold the offenders accountable.

According to the 2015 Violence Policy Center When Men Murder Women report, South Carolina led the nation in rates of women murdered by men. Sixty-six percent (66%) of the victims were killed with a firearm and ninety-six percent (96%) of women murdered were killed by someone they knew.  

Spartanburg County, during the 2015 calendar year, SAFE Homes – Rape Crisis Coalition served 6,726 victims of domestic violence. In the same time frame, the Spartanburg Police Department charged 907 domestic violence cases and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office charged 1,068 domestic violence cases. There were 14 domestic related deaths in Spartanburg County in 2015.

“Domestic violence is violence, period,” Barnette said. “It continues to plague our community – so costly and harmful to families and children, persisting year after year. It is time for these offenders to get our best shot — our best efforts.  That is Home Front.”

“We must protect our most vulnerable victims from dangerous abusers,” Drake said.  “We must remove the burden of addressing abusers from victims and shift it to the impressive and engaged group of local, state, and federal law enforcement enveloped in the Home Front task force.”

The Home Front task force began a thorough, eight-step implementation process in the fall.

Training officers, synchronizing the coding of calls among the law enforcement agencies to harmonize communication – to create a back stop of sorts so that no domestic calls or offenders slip through the cracks among the 16 municipal law enforcement entities in Spartanburg County. 

Early in the implementation process, the task force began creating a comprehensive list of IPV offenders from the previous 12 months of arrests in Spartanburg County for domestic-related incidents.  Offenders were categorized from most dangerous (Class A), repeat offender (Class B), first time DV arrest (Class C), and any non-arrest IPV interface with law enforcement (Class D).

For the most serious or repeat offenders, pending cases are fast-tracked to ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for immediate federal prosecution or prioritized for expedited state prosecution.  This process includes creating an enhanced system of tracking for offenders who are notified at any level or category. 

Custom notification letters, hand-delivered by law enforcement to offenders within 48 hours of the initial law enforcement contact, serve to alert offenders that they are on the Home Front radar going forward as well as detailing presumptive sentences for future acts of violence or prohibited behavior.

Barnette is optimistic about the collaboration and is confident the focus and dedication this task force will not waiver.  “Securing our communities and ensuring that victims and children can feel safe in their own homes — breaking this horrific cycle of violence, that is our charge,” he said.

Home Front Task Force

Spartanburg Police Department

Campobello Police Department

Chesnee Police Department

Cowpens Police Department

Duncan Police Department

Greer Police Department

Inman Police Department

Landrum Police Department

Lyman Police Department

Pacolet Police Department

Wellford Police Department

Woodruff Police Department

Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Police Department

Victim Advocates

Victim Services Providers

Behavioral Health

SC Dept. of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office

SAFE Homes –Rape Crisis Coalition

Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee, & Union

 

 

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