DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The DeKalb County Solicitor-General says nearly one-third of the 13,000 misdemeanor cases she prosecutes each year are domestic violence. And the number of cases is on the rise.
Now, prosecutors and police in DeKalb are teaming up to help victims before violent situations escalate.
When she took office, DeKalb County Solicitor-General Donna Coleman-Stribling said it was her goal to provide the community resources and knowledge needed to identify domestic violence.
And it's coming to fruition.
Her office received $100,000 in funding from DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond to expand domestic violence prevention and develop initiatives that address domestic violence in the county.
Coleman-Stribling used the funding to create the Not in My DeKalb initiative, which includes a domestic violence prevention and mentorship campaign, community programs, and provides second-response personnel to the police department's South Precinct.
"Anything we can do to interrupt that cycle of domestic violence and provide that information as early as possible and make the individual understand, we know what this looks like, we've seen it. We know what to expect," she said.
As part of the program, a victim advocate from the Solicitor-General's office will be assigned to a DeKalb Police precinct.
"The victim advocate will directly engage with victims within hours of the arrest of the perpetrator," according to a news release. "They will assist with information, resources and allow for early intervention in these misdemeanor domestic violence incidents."
Not in My DeKalb also features two educational programs - Because We Are Family and Sunday Night Lights.
Because We Are Family, takes place on select Saturdays and includes workshops focusing on improving families’ communication, as well as tactics for conflict resolution.
Sunday Night Lights is a family-style program to be held on select Sundays, featuring discussions focused on conflict resolution led by certified facilitators over a freshly prepared meal.
A kick-off community event for Not In My DeKalb is planned for Sept. 27 at South DeKalb Mall. "Residents of DeKalb are invited to meet local law enforcement and learn more about the resources in DeKalb combating intimate partner violence," according to the Solicitor-General's office.
“Having a trained professional assist in identifying problematic behaviors and patterns will enhance the opportunity for domestic violence victims to receive resources needed to find a way out of this deadly cycle,” said Joseph Lumpkin, DeKalb County’s public safety director and interim police chief.