New Domestic Violence Coalition takes new, firm approach to ending domestic violence

New Domestic Violence Coalition takes new, firm approach to ending domestic violence.  (ABC 7 Amarillo- Jala Washington).

"Amarillo in general has a domestic violence homicide rate that is four times the rate per capita of larger cities such as Houston, Dallas, [or] San Antonio," Family Support Services Executive Director, Jim Womack said.

This powerful statistic is one of the leading forces behind the domestic violence coalition.

"It's been a lot of hard work behind the scenes for the last year, and now it feels like we're at the tipping point of really seeing some change," Director of Crisis Services at Family Support Services, Kathy Tortoreo said.

The coalition is made up of authorities involved in the Criminal Justice System, from 16 various agencies.

"It's extremely powerful to work with all of these agencies," Tortoreo said.

Different officials say the system hasn't been tough enough on domestic violence perpetrators in the past.

"We were not holding defendants accountable to the highest extent of the law," Amarillo Police Department, Chief Ed Drain said.

Now that will continue to change.

"Somebody is going to knock on your door and let you know, we have eyes on you," Potter County Attorney, Scott Brumley said.

The goal is not to fill our jails, but to change the behavior and let folks know that we will not tolerate domestic violence anymore," Potter County Sheriff, Brian Thomas said.

You may have caught the full press conference this morning on our Facebook Page when we went live, but domestic violence coalition agencies tell me their efforts extend beyond today's announcement. They say true change comes from within the community, and is encouraging everyone to hop on board.

"If you see something or if you're concerned, it's always best to just reach out to the proper channels and see if you can offer a lending hand," Domestic Violence Team Coordinator, Aubree Mcdonald said.

As team coordinator, Mcdonald will work with both the community and agencies to keep communication open and effective.

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