Statewide forums tackle topic of domestic violence
Bangor Daily News
SKOWHEGAN, Maine – Prompted by the high rate of domestic homicides, the Legislature has launched a series of statewide forums on domestic violence, hosted by the Maine Department of Public Safety
Anne Jordan, Maine commissioner of Public Safety, said the forums were the direct result of the murder of a Wells woman, Nicole Oliver, last year by her estranged husband. “Her family was shattered by that” and pressed the Legislature to pass sweeping reforms of the domestic violence laws.
To ensure that the laws were rooted in common sense and would have successful outcomes, Jordan is leading a statewide study of domestic violence programs, services and solutions.
Last year, domestic violence accounted for 32 percent of Maine’s homicides. So far in 2008, the rate is 70 percent.
The scope of domestic violence is painfully evident in Somerset County, the site of one of the violence forums this week.
James Ross, a domestic violence investigator with the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office, said the county has the second-highest rate of domestic violence in the state.
“We are ripe for violence,” Ross said. “In 2007, 285 people were arrested for domestic violence. Not a week goes by that we don’t hear of another horrific event. Domestic violence is a cancer that is eating at the fabric of our society.”
More worrisome, Ross said, is that over the last 18 months there has been a spike in domestic violence arrests in the 18- to 22-year-old age group. Full Story