SPRINGFIELD, MO (02/22/18) - Over 500 people showed up for the 5th Annual Stop the Violence Conference at Missouri State University, today. Fox 5 was there and spoke the Family Violence Task Force on their plans for Greene County.
Springfield police continue to respond to and investigate thousands of calls of domestic abuse each year all while local organizations like the Victim Center and Harmony House are seeing an increased need for their services. And with a bold statement, Springfield could see some changes in the coming months.
“We got to talk about the truth," says Alliance for Hope International's Casey Gwinn. "And in America we raise our criminals at home.”
Domestic violence is the number one violent crime in Greene County.
“So having an impact on that crime will benefit the community in ways that we probably don’t even realize yet," says Springfield's police chief Paul Williams.
And by impact, Williams means by starting a Family Justice Center right here in Greene County. The concept would mean bringing together different professionals, within the community, to give victims a chance of recovery and a life after recovery.
“People working together that can create a community of hope for survivors," says Gwinn. "Not to just come get a service but a place to belong and even long after the crisis.”
Missouri is one of ten states that doesn’t have a Family Justice Center. And with folks rallying for a change the Springfield Police Department released a chart of the density of aggravated domestic assault in Springfield that shows where the most domestic violence happens within the city. Happening near W Walnut and all the way down by W Page St. to N Campbell.
Gwinn says to break the trend we have to start intervening with our children. "That’s how you break the cycle of family violence. That’s how you prevent the mass murderers in America. That’s how you prevent the school shooter in America.”
Gwinn says that the first one he opened in San Diego, back in 2002, made a difference in the community because the domestic violence homicides dropped 90 percent in the first 5 years. Planning for the one in Greene County will start in April and no location for the center has been decided yet.