MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - When it comes to people convicted of domestic violence, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is telling prosecutors across the state to lock them up. He says domestic violence accounts for more than half of all crimes committed in the state each year, and Shelby County is no exception.
The number of domestic violence incidents in the county is staggering, in the tens of thousands. The Domestic Violence Bureau, which is made up of Memphis police officers and Shelby County Sheriff's deputies, has answered nearly 30,000 domestic violence calls in the last two years.
Rubbie King, Program Operations Director at the Family Safety Center, says domestic violence occurs more than people realize.
According to King, "1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence; 51 percent of homes in Shelby County are plagued with domestic violence. It's still a growing problem."
King says that problem affects all walks of life. "It hits the wealthy as well as the poor."
King says victims of domestic violence often want to leave their abusive relationship but are afraid to do so- not only because of financial reasons, they also become concerned with stability.
"When you ask a person to leave a situation you better have something in place for them to leave and to go to," she says. "There's a planning process that has to go along with that as well."
That process includes a number of things, including "re-conditioning, you're talking about education, you're talking about a gamut of things in order to combat domestic violence in Shelby County."
Governor Haslam is trying to combat the problem. Haslam promises his administration will focus more resources and attention toward decreasing cases of domestic abuse. Despite the governor's declaration, King understands, "There is no easy fix; we have to take one victim at a time."
Women aren't the only victims, men are abused too. According to King, one in six men are victims of domestic violence.