Risk of domestic violence rises in times of economic turmoil

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

In a collaborative show of force, scores of city, county and state law enforcement officers arrested 47 people - 44 men and three women - on a variety of suspected domestic violence counts during a daylong sweep last Wednesday.

We support this aggressive approach. The problem of domestic violence is far-reaching.

Often the acts of violence are committed in front of children, who then go on to become abusers or victims when they grow up.

Through September, Fresno police investigated 4,814 reports of domestic violence, which is down almost 3% from the same period in 2007.

"We've kept awareness up, so I don't think the decrease is because more cases are going unreported," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. But he is concerned that the current economic downturn, with so many people losing their homes, jobs and investments, could result in a potential increase in domestic violence in the weeks and months to come.

"When all of those things happen, it creates stress in the family," Dyer said, "and if you mix those financial problems with alcohol or drugs, you've got a recipe for disaster."

Pam Kallsen, director of the Marjaree Mason Center, said the center has been getting more calls for help and is seeing an increase in the severity of injuries.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.