Domestic abusers among frequent re-offenders

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CARTHAGE, Mo. — A Carthage man is behind bars.

He’s accused of assaulting his estranged wife and killing another man – not the first time he’s been charged with domestic violence.

29 year old Lane Stephens guilty plea led to probation, alcohol treatment, and a batterer’s intervention program.

But Carthage Police say that didn’t stop him from attacking the same woman again.

Ashley Shead, Lafayette House, said, “It takes 7 times on average for a victim to actually leave an abusive relationship.”

Ashley Shead with Lafayette House has seen far too many cases ongoing domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is about power and control so when a partner is leaving or threatening to leave the abusive partner is losing, or feels like they’re losing power and control. so that’s when things escalate a lot of times.”

A domestic violence conviction or guilty plea can lead to a requirement to attend a batterer’s intervention program.

“An intensive program. That takes commitment and a lot of time these people don’t want to commit to the 26 week program, the intensive counseling. so sometimes they agree to it but they don’t follow through.”

Shead adds even when they do, there’s no guarantee it will change future behavior.

“Anybody can go through the motions if they’re really invested in the program and trying to work on things and accepting responsibility then it has a better chance of success.”

She adds local professionals are working to make sure domestic violence sentences are carried out – and looking for new ways to help in the future.

“Establishing a domestic violence court in our area would be beneficial – a lot of other areas are doing that.”

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