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Dallas city officials say domestic violence cases continue to rise

Police Chief Eddie Garcia at a lectern.
Courtesy of UNT Dallas
Dallas police are launching a program to address rising domestic violence. "It is really my desire, that through the implementation of this program that the Dallas Police Department will become a model for agencies, police agencies across the United States," Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said. This is a file photo of Garcia at a past event.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia says the city is taking steps aimed at reversing the trend.

Dallas city officials say domestic violence assaults have gone up in the city over the last few years and even accelerated after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Eric Johnson laid out the sobering statistics during a news conference Monday.

“As stay at home orders and the economic fallout strained our families last year, domestic violence-related aggravated assaults increased by nearly 14% in 2020. So far this year we've seen a slight additional increase,” he said.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said it's a federal crime for any person subject to a domestic violence-related protection order to possess a firearm. The same goes for anyone with a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence.

“The offense is normally punishable by up to 10 years in prison, or up to 15 years without parole, if the offender has three or more convictions for violent felonies. We'll be looking to prosecute eligible domestic violence offenders in federal court as a means to break this cycle of violence and protect our victims,” he said.

Garcia said victims of domestic violence are mostly women, between the ages of 16 and 24-years-old, living in poverty, and more likely to be Black and indigenous. He said victimization is 35% more common among Black women compared to white women.

Garcia added that strategies for addressing domestic violence include public awareness campaigns, screening for domestic violence in hospitals, and prosecuting offenders even without the victims’ cooperation.

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Got a tip? Email Elizabeth Myong at Emyong@KERA.org. You can follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Elizabeth_Myong.