Editorial, Oct. 26, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Remain vigilant

When you hear the term domestic violence, what image immediately comes to mind? For most people, the image probably is of an angry man towering over his crying wife, who perhaps has a black eye or other visible bruising.

While that scene describes the most common situation, domestic violence comes in many forms. It is not always a man abusing a woman or vice versa. Domestic violence can be perpetrated by anyone — a minor child, an adult child, a spouse, a parent, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a grandparent, roommate or other extended family members, caregivers and significant others.

Under Maine law, domestic violence assault is an act that: “ ... intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another person,” and the person charged with the assault is a family or household member.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges noted in a 2016 report that domestic violence is not limited to physical or verbal abuse. It can also include emotional, financial and physical isolation. Batterers often use technology to stalk and harass victims, according the council.

This week, state police took part in a statewide effort targeting dozens of people with outstanding arrest warrants related to domestic violence. The offenses ranged from  violating protection orders and failing to appear in court to domestic violence assault and  probation revocation. Some of the offenses dated back a decade and because of the age of some of the paperwork, outdated addresses were listed for many of those being sought. Troopers made six arrests.

A team of 28 Troopers fanned out across the state Oct. 19. Suspects, all men, were arrested in Ellsworth, Thomaston, Livermore, Brownfield, Gray and Chesterville. In addition, troopers found two cases of unreported domestic assault and two other violations of protection from abuse orders.

Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence Communications Director Regina Rooney praised the efforts of state and local law enforcement that "work hard to be part of the solution to end domestic abuse and violence. This month, Rooney said, MCEDV is talking with Mainers about moving beyond awareness and taking action — to support survivors, to hold abusers accountable, and to end abuse for good.

Statistics recently released by Maine Department of Public Safety show a decrease in the number of reported domestic violence incidents in the past year. Maine DPS also reported the trend has gone down in each of the prior three years, after a spike in 2012. This is encouraging, but domestic violence is still unsettlingly common.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, which brings a particular focus to the widespread problem. But we all should be aware, year-round, as domestic violence can happen at any time.

For help or support, contact The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence at 866-834-HELP or mcedv.org and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 800-871-7741 or mecasa.org. Both organizations have complete listings of local groups that offer assistance.


Love the buzz

What a treat to have a mayoral race generating some buzz. Too often, local ballots offer just one choice for voters and it's nice to have a healthy discussion between two candidates who both want what's best for their city.

We're looking forward to the upcoming Belfast mayoral forum Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. at Belfast Free Library and hope the public will turn out in force.

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