Local law enforcement sees increase in domestic violence cases

Posted at 5:48 AM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 06:48:21-05

Across the state of Texas, domestic violence cases are rising. 

Texas Department of Public Safety statistics shows more domestic violence cases are popping up across the state. 

According to DPS statistics, there are more than 214,000 victims of family violence in 2016. 

"Only about 16 percent are reported or actually prosecuted," Sophia Strother, a domestic violence survivor and community advocate, said.

Strother was a domestic violence victim from an early age. She says it started as child abuse and later in life transitioned into domestic violence. But now that she is out, she is using her past to get others get the help they need. 

"It's an epidemic," Strother said. "One in three people in Texas, that includes men and women, have been affected at some point in their lifetime by domestic violence whether they know somebody, within their family, or them."

The Bell County Sheriff's Office says they are seeing a slight increase in the number of domestic violence cases they handle. In 2015, the had 122 compared to 196 in 2016. 

"Here we are in 2017, the year isn't even over yet and we're already at 222," Major TJ Cruz, spokesman for the Bell County Sheriff's Office said. "So every year I've seen it growing."

Major Cruz said some of that increase has to do with the growing population, but they know there could be more cases with the holidays approaching. 

"We're coming up to a holiday season and there's families that go through hard times, one being financial and arguments happen. And they escalate and escalate and the next thing you know you're working a family violence case,' Cruz said. 

The Waco Police Department said numbers have stayed relatively the same over the past five years, ranging from about 1,800 to about 2,100 cases from 2012 to 2016. 

Strother said its good victims are reporting cases, but more needs to be done after victims report the domestic violence. 

"This is not just a one incident and we're done. This is a lifelong journey of healing and trauma we have to overcome daily," Strother said. "We ought to have more men that can stand with us to say this is not okay."

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

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