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Statewide Database to Track Domestic Violence

Posted June 30, 2007

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— Activists hope that a new law that takes effect Sunday  will push the General Assembly to consider tougher laws against domestic violence.

The law requires local authorities and the Attorney General's Office to create a statewide database.

The database will Include homicide and protective orders related to domestic violence. It will also make available any information about the relationship between domestic-violence victims and suspects.

"Any patterns that we can see from the data the state would collect would help us with our investigations," said Lt. John Parker of the Clayton Police Department.

Advocates hope this new law will help prevent deaths such as the murder of Rhonda Barnes. 

"It helps people understand the seriousness of domestic violence. It helps people understand the lethality," said Marie Brodie with the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Coalition has been tracking domestic violence-related homicides since 2002. Last year, it recorded 79 homicides.

Police have arrested her ex-boyfriend Dennis Shaw for killing Barnes inside her Clayton home in 2006.

Barnes filed numerous police reports accusing Shaw of vandalizing her home and car. Two days before her death, she told police she feared for her life.

However, Barnes never took out a restraining order against him in North Carolina. Without such records, police can take little action, said officers.

"Until there is evidence, there is not a lot we can do," Parker said.

Under the new law, the Attorney General's Office will annually report the database's findings to a legislative committee.

The N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence hopes that the new database will help push the General Assembly to make tougher penalties for people who violate protective orders.

"It will be more thorough for one thing, and this will give this a lot of credibility coming from the Attorney General's office as well," said Brodie.


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  • luvbeingamommy Jul 2, 2007


    My heart and prayers go out to your family and your cousin's children. While I didn't know Rhonda personally, I use to work at the same company and would see her in passing. She was always very quiet and seemed to be a sweet-spirited individual. She would always speak and seemed to have a smile on her face. I was very saddened to hear about her passing and the circumstances surrounding it. I pray that justice is served and that this monster will not be able to inflict this type of pain and misery on another family.

  • kim king Jul 2, 2007

    steve i have tried to look at it from both sides. I think that women do cry wolf and need to stick to what they say happen and follow through with it. You will be suprised how many cases go to court and the women drop the case or they do not show up so that the state has to drop their case. And yea I know men who are real men that get hit by their wives and do not call for assistance cause they look crazy for calling on a women, but the moment he put his hands on her it is different.
    The thing with my cousin is that the guy was out of state, he lived in d.c and had no business down here. He stalked her waited in her house and then bashed her head in and poured acid all over her. It was not a just happen case, he stalked and scared her for a year. he tore up her house and cars and cause she could only accuse him with no proof there was nothing to be done, her only proof came when he killed her. But I am not really sure what the data base will do .

  • FlSunshine Jul 1, 2007

    A domestic violence victim leaves on the average 7 times before she finally leaves for good. This is one of the major dynamics of DV. She goes back for many reasons. One, she loves him...when the heart is involved it is a major issue. She has children to take care of (financially and otherwise) and they constantly are saying they want their dad. She has never worked outside the home; Does not have proper education or job skills (usually due to husband/boyfriend). She is embarassed about people finding out. She has no family or friends who support her efforts. It is the most dangerous time for her--when she decides to leave because he has lost his control and will do anything to get her and it back. This is when most women get killed.

  • ladyblue Jul 1, 2007

    Yes, it is a tool to keep up with all domestic complaints, and give officers quick access to needed records. Example all those times police were called to this victim's house it did not get into any database allowing each officer who came the problems victim was having, only her words. This system will allow that. Had officer's noticed the amount of stalking and intimidation that had been going on by this man, they may have realized he was getting out of control. I don't know what else they could of done unless arrested him, which he'd gotten out on bail and gone back to hurt her, Which is why she was afraid of getting the protection order in the first place. This could take that away from the victim and put the decision in hand of officer. Plenty times they've seen beaten women who refuse to work with them because they are "in love", scared, or they drop charges later. Will this allow the authorities to protect the woman who won't protect herself. I don't know, I doubt it.

  • ladyblue Jul 1, 2007

    Steve- You let me down. i thought you knew the answer all that posting about what it couldn't do. Another research job for me. I thought it was suppose to assist the cops to let them know if the intimidations reported by the victims on the abusers were escalating, giving them the data to now if it was a chronic domestic abuser from another area who moved here. Making sure it was all uniformed and easy access for the officers to get info on the domestic history of these people. Like having another tool to inform officers without having to go all over the place and computer web. They'd have one centralized web to go to. I'm off to see if I can locate research.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 1, 2007

    To lolly:

    I have no idea.

    To kim king:

    While your sentiments are noble, you must understand that many men view things differently than women, especially those who are truly aggrieved by domestic violence. What men often see is women using restraining orders as a weapon to control or get even with their husbands or boyfriends. We also see women who constantly get beaten and then are back with their husbands when they leave the emergency room. Far too many women have cried wolf over the years and it has jaded many men from trying to decide which complaint is legitimate and which is vindictive.

    And from an anecdotal standpoint, I know plenty of women who are inherently violent; they will pull knives on their husbands. But when the husband defends himself, guess who gets arrested? Or who has an order issued?

    I will grant you that there is no excuse for a man to hit a woman, but will you grant me that there is no excuse for a woman who has been hit to allow that man back into her life?

  • lolly Jul 1, 2007

    Hi Kim – my heart goes out to you and your family. She was so beautiful. If it is not too painful to talk about, and I certainly understand if it is, how would the database have helped? The article says that Rhonda did not file a restraining order, but maybe there is more than the article says? Thanks.

  • kim king Jul 1, 2007

    That is my cousin in this article and I am all for this order. If some man has to put his hands on a woman he is not a man at all. These women have to press charges against these men and show them that they are not playing and it is not cute at all. These women are losing their lives and having there bodies messed up behind what they think is love. Sometimes they feel like the man loves them and that it will not happen but once. Once is more than enough. Any women here going through this and want to talk please contact me at kenyattaking@hotmail.com or call 919-875-8181 we all need a friend and someone who understands. Please keep my cousins children in your prayers. and God Bless

  • lolly Jul 1, 2007

    Hey Steve - I give up. What will this database do for domestic violence?

  • Steve Crisp Jul 1, 2007

    Hi lolly,

    That datebase matching would only be of benefit should the person have a legally obtained handgun. There are no permits required for shotguns or rifles. And I would suspect that most criminals would not bother to get a handgun permit in the first place.

    Even so, that would not stop someone from using a knife, brick, their car, or any other object as a weapon if they so chose. And just off the top of my head, I would suspect that woman rarely take out restraining orders because their (in)significant other pulled a gun on them. It seems that getting hit or choked is the most often reason.