Monday, November 16, 2009

Two special reports on domestic violence

While these reports are specific to the states of Ohio and Kentucky, the findings, I'm sure, are of interest to readers here and applicable across the country.

The Columbus Dispatch conducted a four-month investigation of domestic violence in Ohio, and according to the AP summary of it, "Ohio has created a culture of tolerance for domestic violence by not enforcing the laws on its books and often treating the crimes with leniency."

You can read the report and see various videos here, but it looks like they have related stories that aren't listed on that page yet. Some are on the front page. A must-read piece: "Day 1: Beating the System." This news might not be exactly ground-breaking for the readers of this blog, but the story does a good job at laying out how bad the justice system can be at dealing with domestic violence offenders, and it does a great job at pointing out how outraged we are we animals are abused, but not so much when people are.

The Louisville Courier-Journal investigated domestic violence and the courts over the last three years, specifically about victims who were killed by a spouse or partner, how many had protective orders from the court, and how effective protective orders are (more effective than I thought). You can read the main story here, and it has links to the other stories and components of the report.

While none of the news or findings here are good, per se, I personally am thrilled that two mid-size metro newspapers have independently conducted extensive studies on some facet of domestic violence. It is a problem that is so easy to ignore or shrug off, until it's too late. And both of these papers focus on or discuss the "too late" part, which might be one of the easiest way to get people to understand how dire domestic violence can be.

As an aside, I'm also a newspaper supporter, and in the midst of all the "newspapers are dead" claims that have been going around the past couple years, I would hold up both of these reports as two big reasons why you should support your newspaper so it does not die. I can't think of one Web-based news organization that is going to do extensive investigations of domestic violence in either Ohio or Kentucky. Can you?

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