(Southaven, MS) Mississippi Department of Health records show more than 16,000 calls to domestic violence crisis lines from 2010 to 2011.
During that same time, 978 women and more than 1100 children visited domestic abuse shelters.
That’s despite the patchwork of agencies that oversee domestic violence cases in the state.
”I would hope that we would have uniformity around the State which, right now, we don’t,” explained Lorrine Cady, with DeSoto County’s House of Grace.
She says dealing with the health and welfare departments as well as the Department of Public Safety can be frustrating.
That’s why she, and others on a governor’s task force, have recommended bringing all those functions under one new state agency.
Police say it would help them as well.
”Anytime you can have information in one location and get it out quickly as possible while we’re on the scene with somebody when time is of the essence, then I think it’s a great idea,” said Lt. Mark Little with the Southaven Police Department.
They already report all domestic violence information in one statewide computer system.
”If they create a task force we can call them say we’re looking for this guy, we have active warrants for him then they could say we’re getting reports here,” Little explained.
He says it would make it easier to catch domestic violence offenders.
Ms. Cady says it would speed help to the women and children who need it most, ”With the governor behind it, it would work much, much better and much smoother. They would have someone they had to answer to.”
She hopes state lawmakers move to create the new agency as soon as the legislature convenes in January.