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Does Central California have a domestic violence problem?

Law enforcement officials report that the rates of domestic violence are particularly high in and around the Fresno area. Statistics from 2014 indicate that of all the 911 calls, over 6,000 involved domestic abuse. As the Justice Department estimates that roughly two-thirds of domestic violence incidents go unreported, these rates could be much higher.

Rates of domestic violence here in Fresno County are markedly higher than the average rates for California — 63 percent. But why?

The executive director for the Marjaree Mason Center thinks she may have an inkling. She said, "It doesn't explain the behavior, nor . . . condone it, but . . . substance abuse and poverty, which . . . are huge issues to Fresno County, highly escalate levels of domestic violence."

Yet, those two factors don't seem to affect bordering counties as much as they do right here in Fresno County. Another community leader speculates that geography plays a role, with the sheer size of the area making it harder for those trapped without transportation to make a clean break. Thus, they remain, and continue to call 911 when violence occurs.

Regardless of the reason for the heightened number of calls, it is inevitable that some so-called victims will unjustly accuse their former and current intimate partners of domestic violence. They may do so out of a desire for revenge or to get the upper hand in a divorce or custody case.

When false accusations of domestic violence are levied against an individual, it is wrong on two fronts. For the wrongly accused, it can be a nightmare that can cause them to lose jobs, experience social ostracism, lose precious time spent with their children and even be wrongfully convicted.

But false accusations also divert vital resources for those who are truly in need of these type of services. Someone may go unserved due to false reporting of domestic violence allegations, and the consequences could be fatal.

If you have been falsely accused, don't hesitate. Launch a robust defense immediately that has been coordinated closely with your criminal defense attorney.

Source: Valley Public Radio, "Why Is Fresno County’s Domestic Violence Rate So High?," Jeffrey Hess and Kerry Klein, Oct. 31, 2016

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