Police fight stalking, domestic abuse

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – Officials with the Paragould Police Department told Region 8 News Monday 15% of all calls are from domestic issues. According to Tony Williams, most domestic cases end peacefully, but some can escalate to deadly events.

"When you're taking them out of the home, the female become irate. I've actually had them jump on my back walking down the steps trying to get me to turn their male partner loose," said Williams.

January is National Stalker Awareness Month. Williams said the month is designed to raise awareness of stalking and the consequences involved.

"There has to be a terroristic threatening act and harassment act within a 36 hour time period," said Williams.

Under Arkansas state law, an individual must harass a victim and threaten to cause bodily harm within a time frame. According to Williams, most people believe stalking involves intruding on someone's actions. Other states have different meanings to the word.

"I think there needs to be some type of program implemented especially because a lot of the children don't know what to do if something like that happens. You know, whether it's somewhere to go or someone to talk to," said Williams.

Williams said he was intrigued by the number of teenage abuse cases. According to the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three teenagers said they have been in or will be in an abusive relationship.

"You're never going to be able to stop it. You're never going to be able to completely stop it, but if we get to the younger generation and start educating them, we may be able to stop some of it," said Williams. "You're going to have to have something because if you don't then everybody is going to do exactly what they've been doing."

According to the stalkingawarenessmonth.org, most people don't think stalking is a crime.

Williams said he was afraid stalking can lead to other crimes.

"In one of the studies, 38 percent of date rape victims were young women from 14 to 17 years of age," said Williams. "If you've got someone that's grown up in an abusive relationship where that's all they've seen all their life, chances are when they get out of the home and get into a relationship of their own, it's probably going to be abusive."

Click here for more information on abusive relationships and how to stop it.

"Most of the time, when we in law enforcement make contact with them and say hey, the report has been filed, you need to let it go, the majority of the time, that's the end of it," said Williams: they can't take no for an answer, they're very persistent and sometimes that ends up in a stalking charge."

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