Officials: Domestic violence cases increasing

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

No matter where it happens, victims are left behind in the wake of domestic violence.

In Portales and Clovis, many reach out to try and help these victims, including law enforcement officers, church members, shelter workers and district court workers.

October is the national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a panel discussion on the 20th will involve the concerned residents of eastern New Mexico in a discussion of domestic violence and what victims can do.

Orlando Ulibarri, legal assistant for the Domestic Violence Hearing Office of the Ninth Judicial District, noted an increase in domestic violence cases in the locality.

Ulibarri, who has been working for the office for nine years, said last year some 600 new petitions for domestic violence were recorded in Curry County and up to 200 new petitions in Roosevelt County.

“It’s one of the most frequent (type of) calls we receive,” Portales Police Department Capt. Lonnie Berry said. “If we can see (physical) evidence, then we can make an arrest.”

Ulibarri said a combination of factors contribute to the increasing domestic violence petitions, including more awareness in victims that they can go to law enforcement for help.

Ulibarri works for the office of Judge Fred Hensley, who presides over domestic violence cases in the Ninth and 10th judicial districts.

Berry and Ulibarri confirm that domestic violence calls are most common during the holiday season.

Violence in the family can be ignited by different causes. In Portales, the most common cause is alcohol, said Berry.

“That’s why we have long weekends during the holidays,” Berry said. “Unfortunately, right now, meth is adding to the domestic violence problem.”

Local victim’s advocates are at hand to help: Lory Adams is the victim’s advocate in Roosevelt County. There are two in Curry County.

Grace Orozco, a victim’s advocate in Curry County, said many incidents are unreported.

“Sometimes they were raised in a home that had domestic violence and when they grow up they believe it’s acceptable,” Orozco said. “They’re used to that lifestyle.

“We encourage them and try to make them become self-independent. We try to stop the cycle from repeating.”

Orozco said victim’s are referred to the Hartley House (The Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, Inc.) in Clovis.

Professionals from different agencies in Curry and Roosevelt County will participate on the panel discussion at 6 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Becky Sharp Auditorium of Eastern New Mexico University.

Those who need help with domestic violence may contact the hotline, 769-0305 or the Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence at 762-0050.

Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence representatives also have group meetings to help victims at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at 220 Main Street in Clovis.

Those who need help in Portales may contact the First Baptist Church at 356-6761.

• Domestic Violence Hotline — 769-0305
• Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence — 762-0050
• First Baptist Church in Portales — 356-6761
• Victim group meetings — 6 p.m. Wednesdays at 220 Main Street, Clovis