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Enough is Enough Family justice center would assist victims of domestic abuse

By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston

Who are these nay-sayers that are so hell bent against the consolidation of Lewiston-Auburn?
They refuse to participate in any discussions. Whether these discussions will lead to the consolidation of the Twin Cities is anyone’s guess. Will money be saved? Probably not initially.
But discussions create off-shoot ideas that can be looked at, developed and brought to fruition in order to benefit both communities.
Domestic violence, both sexual and physical, is ever increasing throughout our towns, cities, counties, states and our country. Domestic abuse, unlike your favorite crime show, is not brought to a conclusion in an hour and rarely do the victims live happily ever after.
One of the things that the average person does not think about is the tremendous amount of manpower needed to handle just one of these cases. The average person knows that police and prosecutors are involved in domestic abuse cases. But are there others that are equally important? You betcha!
Included in these are social workers, Department of Health and Human Service Protection Workers, Tri-County Mental Health, doctors, nurses and medical staff, ambulance personnel and counselors from specialized non-profit agencies that deal with the various types of abuse. These people are needed to help deal with each individual case.
Last week during a discussion of the steps needed to merge Lewiston and Auburn’s Police Departments, a side discussion occurred over the creation of a family justice center. This center would house the aforementioned agencies in one place in order to immediately and effectively meet the needs of victims. This would replace spending weeks of making appointments and sending victims here, there and everywhere.
Will there be an expense? Probably. But to treat this epidemic using a Band-Aid instead of disinfectant will result in higher costs down the road. Being elected city officials, we should discuss and debate this problem and ask: will this make our cities safer?
I am from the old school of police work: you could not arrest an abuser unless you actually observed the assault. There were no such things as protective orders of abuse. In domestic situations, you as the police, sworn to protect and serve, were helpless.
Things have progressed from 40 years ago. Police now have the tools to do a much better job. I think it’s time to start a dialogue that will lead to the establishment of a Lewiston-Auburn family justice center. We owe it to the victims. We owe it to the police. We owe it to our constituents.
Speaking of domestic violence, last week I attended two events in which two local companies and a local Boy Scout raised money to help alleviate the trauma suffered by victims of domestic abuse.
The first event was a free country and western concert that attracted several thousand well-behaved fans. This concert, put on by LA Harley Davidson and 99.9 The Wolf, benefited SafeVoices, our local women and children’s advocacy group. Thanks also to members of the Lewiston Fire Department, who took time to “Fill the Boot” for this necessary community non-profit.
I saved the best for last. Two weeks ago I was honored and humbled to participate at an award ceremony in which Dale Brown, a 17-year-old Boy Scout, was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. He earned this award by unselfishly raising enough money to buy 104 backpacks and stocking them with items designed to make the transition of abused children, pulled from their homes and placed in foster care, easier.
Early in life Brown had been the victim of shaken baby syndrome. Instead of assuming the status of victim, he dedicated himself to unselfishly helping kids that had been abused.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Brown’s mother. She is one of the many single, working-poor mothers that devote their energies to their children in order to assure them a better life. Let us salute her and the many unnoticed parents like her.
Lastly, in November 2017 Dale Brown is my choice to succeed me as mayor.

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