Domestic disputes have led to several high profile tragedies in our area lately. Experts say there are resources available that can keep these situations from going from bad to worse.
About two weeks ago, we saw a situation that started as a domestic dispute turn into a police standoff, and eventually the suicide of a Pocatello man.
“I think that every now and then you just get these incidents where people come unhinged and they might not have ever been involved in the system before and there’s no real indicators along the way to tell the community there’s a threat to them and then something terrible happens,” said Bannock County Prosecutor, Stephen Herzog.
These unhinged incidents have become all too common in our community, but efforts are being made to change that. The county prosecutors have turned their focus from immediate incarceration to having the option of treatment.
“It really depends on the nature of the offense and the history of the offender, but our real focus initially is trying to prevent that kind of conduct from happening again, so rehabilitation is the emphasis. And the domestic violence statutes in Idaho and the courts here are very good about if you plead guilty to a domestic violence charge, misdemeanor or felony, the code requires that you get a domestic violence assessment and then follow the recommendations in that assessment and that treatment is made part of your probation,” said Herzog.
The courts are doing all they can to prevent the issue, but it is key for the victim of domestic disputes to do what they can to get out. The Family Services Alliance is ready and willing to provide shelter and counseling, but they can’t force it.
“It’s voluntary because domestic violence is all about power and control and we don’t want to be one more layer of power in their life. So what we do is we lay out everything we have and what we can do for people,” said the Executive Director for the Family Services Alliance, Sarah Leeds.
The best way to keep domestic violence from escalating is to get help while you can. Whether you’re the abused or the abuser, resources are just a phone call away.
“Resources are out there for people who are victims of it and including offenders who acknowledge they may have a problem, where they can turn before they have a criminal problem,” Herzog commented.
Leeds Adds: “Absolutely call for help, you’re not alone. Unfortunately there are more people than you realize that are going through this you’re not alone and family services alliance can help.”
The Family Services Alliance encourages anyone needing assistance to not hesitate, their services are free and completely confidential. Their hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be reached at 251-HELP.