Advocates hope to reduce TN domestic violence cases - WSMV News 4

Advocates hope to reduce TN domestic violence cases

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Tennessee has the third-most number of cases of men killing women, and most of them are domestic violence cases involving two people in close relationships.

That study caught the eye of the Metro Police Department, which has made some revolutionary changes in the way it combats domestic violence.

Just this year, there have been more than 19,000 cases of domestic violence in Tennessee. It's women like Vickie Persall, who was murdered at work fleeing an abusive husband, or Dana Lick, of Pleasant View, who couldn't find a hiding place.

A staggering 60 percent of murders in Nashville the past five years were all intimate relationship murders, and now a special unit that looks only at crimes within intimate relationships.

The Metro domestic violence unit is throwing more people and more hours at investigating those crimes often committed by the people the victim may love most.

"We believe the time is right. Tennessee is third in the nation where men are killing women, and that's even down from fifth. So, for a new aggressive strategy it's a perfect time," said Pam Shea, president and CEO of the YWCA of Nashville.

Metro Police Cpt. Kay Lokey is the mastermind behind the domestic violence unit. She said her officers deal with thousands of victims and most of the suspects are repeat offenders.

"My detectives come back to me and say, 'we deal with the same people, same suspects and same victims over and over again, and we need more time. We need to be more aggressive,'" Lokey said.

Now, if there are three calls to any home in Nashville in a year, that house is flagged and separately investigated. And domestic violence detectives will see 25 percent of their caseload reduced, so they can go after the serious repeat offenders in intimate relationships.

Some people think statistics are boring, but that is not the case in the domestic violence unit. Experts even say the numbers show that if a man puts his hands around a woman's neck in anger, it is a huge indicator he will eventually try to murder her.

The YWCA runs a hotline to help women who are trying to get out of a situation before they get hurt.

To speak with people who can help, just call 615-242-1149.

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