Flagler council says legislative action, education needed to curb domestic violence

Flagler domestic violence deaths up 7 percent this year

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

Since Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly called on the community in June to combat domestic violence, he said the problem has gotten worse.

In September, a man was murdered in his Palm Coast driveway, deputies said. Staly said he was the fourth person to die from domestic violence in Flagler County this year.

"I wish I had good news for you but the last numbers I saw, we’re up about 7 percent in domestic violence," said Sheriff Staly.

Staly is working on getting results.

After the second domestic violence murder of 2017, Staly held a Domestic Violence Summit and formed a council to combat the problem. The council includes deputies, police officers, chaplains, teachers, pastors, doctors, social workers, DCF workers and domestic violence survivors.

On Friday afternoon, the council will present recommendations to the sheriff. Staly gave News 6 an exclusive sneak preview of what the panel recommended to bring down those domestic violence-related death numbers.

The council recommends seeking legislative changes to begin domestic violence education in elementary schools. Currently, students as young as middle school-aged learn about domestic violence. Staly said too often children see and learn domestic violence from their parents.

The council believes a dedicated deputy should be assigned to handle only domestic violence cases to build stronger cases, follow through with prosecutions, and get convictions.

"Many times what happens is patrol makes an arrest, the case goes to the state attorney's office and there's no follow-up or coordination by detectives," Staly said.

Staly plans to implement many of the recommendations.

"As a result of this committee meeting and making this a priority, we now have a batterer's intervention program in Flagler County," Staly said. "In fact, their first session was last week."

Staly said in the past, offenders who were court ordered to attend an intervention program had to drive to Volusia County for the 29-week program.

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