Family Violence Task Force
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In the fall of 2012, the Springfield Police Department recognized a significant increase in aggravated assaults. Research by the SPD’s Crime Analysis Unit found the upturn was directly linked to domestic assaults. Seventy percent of all aggravated assaults in Springfield were found to be domestic related. Representatives from both the Uniform Operations Bureau and the Investigations and Support Services Bureau met with the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office to develop a better approach to addressing domestic assault investigations and prosecutions. In an effort to curb the rise in violence the Department developed a two-prong approach for 2013.
The first prong requires the assigned Police Area Representative (PAR) to conduct a follow-up visit with victims to administer a lethality assessment and to ensure the victim is aware of services available to them. This will assist in prosecution as well as collection of additional evidence. Repeat offenders will be flagged in domestic violence cases to ensure that the past incidents, whether or not charges were filed, are included for consideration when the new cases are presented to the Greene County prosecutor.
The second prong was the development of the Family Violence Task Force. The task force includes representation from the SPD, the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, the City of Springfield's Department of Public Information, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, YMCA, Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Greene County Juvenile Office, Victim Center, Harmony House, CoxHealth, Clarity Recovery and Wellness, Missouri Department of Social Services, Alternative Opportunities, Inc., Jordan Valley Community Health Center, H.I.T. No More, Great Circle, Higher Ground Program and Doula Foundation. The task force developed two goals for 2013 to address the issues of family violence, including domestic violence and child abuse:
1. Educating the community as to the impact of family violence on the community as a whole, through a well-organized media campaign.
2. Educating businesses, churches, educators, and civic leaders as to the issues of family violence and the overall effect this issue has on the quality of life, businesses, education, and civic reputation.