Center for Violence Prevention has partnered with police departments

The Center for Violence Prevention is working with police departments across central Mississippi to formulate a more efficient domestic violence approach program.

In the past, police would arrive at a scene where domestic violence has been reported and do one of two things. They would either arrest both parties or give the accuser a victims rights packet before walking away.

That outdated, inefficient system is now part of the past for departments partnered with the Center for Violence Prevention.

“It’s so important for a victim to hear someone say, ‘we get it,’ and especially from someone wearing a badge,” Center for Violence Prevention director Sandy Middleton said. “It really solidifies the fact in their minds that they are victims and they do need help. There’s something about that trust.”

Middleton’s team has provided multiple local police departments, including the city of Byram’s, with a new strategical approach that includes a 12-question assessment as well as a direct phone call between the victim and someone at victim services.

“It’s 12 questions in three and a half minutes, making one phone call, and we’re saving people,” Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson said. “When you looked at the number of reports we were taking versus the number of people we were arresting, we were arresting everybody. Now, we can go back and with Sandy’s help and her group’s help, we are able to show that we are making a connection between the victim and victim services.”

This blooming connection between the Center for Violence Prevention and various police departments such as Chief Thompson’s has proven effective as the number of domestic violence calls has decreased within jurisdictions currently using the program.

“This collaboration has just been amazing,” Middleton said. “If I could duplicate this in every jurisdiction across our state, it would change things without a doubt.”

Hopefully one day, she can do just that as 40.1 percent of Mississippi women and 25.8 percent of Mississippi men experience violence, rape, or stalking from an intimate partner.

To watch the full interview with Middleton and Thompson, check out the video below.