Authorities look for ways to decrease domestic violence

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - In what was called a 'staggering statistic,' Shelby County officials said Thursday the number of domestic violence cases in Shelby County has doubled over the past year.

"Thousands of people are traumatized and endangered and damaged everyday in our community by the violence that goes on at home," Deborah Clubb of the Memphis Area Women's Council said.

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons' office worked 3,972 cases domestic violence cases, including 18 homicides, in 2007.

In Shelby County the numbers are startling. In 2007 The DA's office worked 3972 cases and 18 homicides.

So far in 2008, prosecutors said, 32 homicides have involved domestic violence.

Many of those cases are recognizable.  In February, a Charlene Gaither's dismembered body was found in Coldwater River in DeSoto County.  Her long-time boyfriend was later accused of killer her.

In March, the 'Lester Street Massacre' was cited as a very public case of domestic violence.

Most recently, then Memphis Police Officer Chancy Jones was accused of killing his mistress, Phyllis Malone.

Thursday, Gibbon said his office is currently working 48 open domestic violence homicide cases.  The cases are split between two prosecutors, Gibbon said, with a third on the way.

"We are very concerned about the figures so far this year," Gibbons said. "While violent crime overall has been going down slightly in Shelby County, we've had a dramatic increase in domestic homicides."

Gibbons and Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton are pitching the Family Services Center, an organization that could combat domestic violence by providing victims all the resources they would need, under one room.  The center still needs a physical location, and millions of dollars in funding.

This is something we've got to make a priority and I will be pushing for funding," Wharton said.

Anything, Wharton said, in an attempt to get the domestic violence numbers down.

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