The Midland County District Attorney's Office is helping domestic violence victims see the big picture of their situations. For the past eight months, women who start filing charges of abuse against their abuser, but then change their mind, have been required to take a class, before the charges can be dropped. In the past, they would just talk with a district attorney and sign a piece of a paper. Over 200 women have already taken the class.
"The two- hour course that were offering is one hour counseling and one hour of advocacy with a victim advocate," said Tonya Eckert, Safe Place Program Director.
The counseling portion allows the abused victim to talk about her situation. It gives them a way to express their feelings and heal from any trauma they might have experienced.
"Then they see our legal advocate or one of the victim advocates," explained Eckert.
Together they create a safety plan.
"We want to equip them to be safe in the situation they might go back into and help them come up with ways to escape a situation if it became dangerous,” she said.
Tools they didn't have before.
"I think this was an outreach to the individual to make sure that everyone achieves at least a familiarity and a little education on what is available in the community," said Assistant District Attorney George Patterson.
Sgt. David Garcia with the Midland Police Department looks over and assigns domestic abuse cases.
"Sometimes they go beyond that they will actually get a statement and then a day or two later they'll call and say I've changed my mind," said Sgt. Garcia.
He said that’s the biggest problem: the majority of women drop the charges and a lot of times they’re repeat victims. Sgt. Garcia believes this program is a good idea.
"Because a lot of times the victim for whatever reason feels they are at fought," he said.
The new program also applies to assaults, and terroristic threats. Another reason the DA’s office implemented the course was to put all their attorneys on the same page when it came to handling these types of cases.
For more information about