Grant would shield victims

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LEXINGTON - Domestic violence victims are often intimidated by alleged batterers even though they are ordered by the courts to stay away, officials say.

That's why Lexington County wants a federal grant to hire special officers to protect the victims, who sometimes change their stories or refuse to cooperate with authorities, officials say.

Lexington County prosecutors say victims have not cooperated in about 80 percent of domestic violence cases in roughly the past two years. But the sheriff's department hopes the new plan - a pricey one that would cost about $1 million - will stop that.

Nicole Howland, who prosecutes most domestic violence cases in Lexington County, has pushed for a $831,000, three-year grant because most couples won't stay apart while their cases are pending. That often results in cases that are difficult to prosecute.

"People kiss and make up," said University of South Carolina law professor Kenneth W. Gaines. "It's hard to keep them adversaries."

Ms. Howland said one accused batterer in Lexington County made almost 300 phone calls to his partner over six weeks despite no-contact orders. Another victim moved to another state, only to return and marry the man she accused of attacking her.

"A lot of women are going to recant because the stakes are high - our marriages, our livelihoods, our children," said Laura Hudson, one of the state's veteran victim rights advocates.

If the county is awarded the grant, two new deputies would be hired and equipped to gather evidence against accused batterers that violate no-contact orders. The deputies would be able to ask a judge to jail offenders for violating the orders.

The deputies also could help prosecute cases with reluctant victims by testifying.

A decision on the grants is likely by late August and could once again put Lexington in the forefront of fighting domestic violence.

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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 05/29/07 - 05:59 am
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I have known about a dozen

I have known about a dozen battered women and all of them stayed with their abusive husbands until they were finally severely injured. I stopped associating with them all when I saw they weren't going to change their situation in any way. I hate seeing people getting beat up without ever trying to defend themselves.

Honden
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Honden 05/29/07 - 06:29 am
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Just when someone really

Just when someone really needs a friend It's time to go?

Honden
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Honden 05/29/07 - 06:31 am
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Sometimes it isn't easy being

Sometimes it isn't easy being a friend.

butterflygina
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butterflygina 05/29/07 - 08:29 am
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patriciathomas, it is easier

patriciathomas, it is easier to say you are going to leave rather than do it. I can understand your frustrations as a friend, but your associates/friends may not have been as strong as you or as strong as you wanted them to be. I hope they are all doing okay.

All About Me
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All About Me 05/29/07 - 11:05 am
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As a counslor once told me it

As a counslor once told me it is easy to judge those in the abusive situation but It is EASIER FOR THEM TO STAY because most of the time it is what the are used to. Most abused women where abused as children so therefore they can handle the situation rather than a nicer situation because they have to relearn how to live and accept someone being nice to them that is as scary to them as us being in that situation.

byrumnews
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byrumnews 05/29/07 - 03:27 pm
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I was once in an abusive

I was once in an abusive relationship. I stayed because I didn't think that I was capable of being a single mom. I stayed for my children.
People do not realize that abuse comes in all forms. During the almost two years of marriage, (until the last episode) I only had one bruise. I thought my marriage had "issues", but I never thought I was in an abusive relationship...no broken bones, black eyes or trips to the hospital. He was more of a controlling type who would not let me out of his sight.We even attended Marriage Counseling and all the counselor would do is ask how such and such made me feel. I still didn't realize I was being abused.
I only got away because of a good samaritain, who saw him abuse me and called the police. After that I went to Safe homes of Augusta. They helped me to realize what was really going on. I finally realized that I not doing my children a favor by placing them in that enviroment.
I encourage anyone who is being abused or knows someone being abused to talk with someone at Safe Homes of Augusta. They are kind caring people and they do not look down on you.
It has been several years now and I am married to a great man. Don't lose hope.......ever.

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