First of a Two-Part Series
Arizona Public Media's Lorraine Rivera speaks with Sheriff’s Sergeant Terry Parish who leads the county's domestic violence task force, which has attracted positive attention from law enforcement agencies around the country.
"In the '70s and '80s, police would show up at a domestic violence incident (and) they'd dust people off, tell them 'hey, you've got to quit fighting or we're going to have to send someone to jail,' and we'd go on our way," Parish said of the old system of responding to domestic violence calls.
Parish says the department now follows up to make sure offenders obey conditions of their release from jail, such as staying away from the victim and their home. "If they go back, they're going back to jail," Parish said. "We're the only ones I know of anywhere in this country that does this."
85 percent of victims of domestic violence are female, Parish said. They often have kids and less control of household finances, which makes it difficult to remove themselves from abuse situations, Parish said.
"We somehow expect people to be able to function and do it well while they're being abused all this time and the system can't work that way anymore," Parish said.