(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County has more than doubled the number of adults and children who are victims of domestic violence.
Superior Court I Judge Michael Robbins says domestic violence has been an ongoing issue in Lawrence County. During 2011-2012, Indiana recorded 64 domestic violence-related deaths. Two of those were in Lawrence County.
Hoosier Hills PACK - who has assisted families of domestic violence for the past 15 years - has provided service to 482 families and children. In Orange County they have assisted 200. Heather Woloshen, who works in the Lawrence County Hoosier Hills PACT office, saw almost 700 clients in the fiscal year from 2012-2013.
Lawrence County Superior Court I was recently the recipient of a $40,000 Court Reform Grant from Indiana's Supreme Court in order to start the first domestic violence problem-solving court in the state and one of the first in the United States.
Robbins who will preside over the court says it is in the early stages of development. Robbins says domestic violence is a family problem and the plan is to help families instead of just working with the perpetrators.
Robbins says domestic violence is something that is taught.
Many children who witness domestic violence in later years become the perpetrators and the court hopes to break the cycle.
The next step is to form a team for the court and that is not something that will happen overnight. Members will have to be certified.
The prosecutor's office will be involved, along with the public defender's office, the probation department and Indiana University and law enforcement and others.
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