Thursday, December 15, 2011

Officials implore public to seek help for domestic violence during holidays (Towson, Maryland)

It's all very nice for "local officials" to encourage the public (women) to seek help for domestic violence. But in fact, Maryland has one of the worse records in the country for denying women orders of protection, and granting violent fathers access to their children after the divorce or separation.

We've posted on killer dad RICHARD SPICKNALL before. What is not mentioned here is that this father had joint custody when he killed these kids, and that he got joint custody despite a history of domestic violence against the mother.

See our previous posting on this case here:

Maybe instead of piously lecturing moms on "getting help," we need to start holding judges, legislators, and police officers responsible for the consequences of their actions.

Domestic Violence Increases During Holidays
Officials Implore Public To Seek Help

POSTED: 5:00 pm EST December 14, 2011
UPDATED: 7:13 am EST December 15, 2011

TOWSON, Md. -- Local officials hope to help prevent incidents of suicide and domestic violence dramatically, which increase during the holiday season, according to law enforcement officials.

In September 1999, Lisa Spicknall's husband, Richard, drove their two children to a bridge over the Choptank River, killing them all.

"Their father had committed the ultimate act of domestic violence," she said. "He shot and murdered my two beautiful children."

Spicknall, flanked by Baltimore County officials Wednesday morning, shared her nightmare once again in an effort to remind people of the horrors of domestic violence.

"Just within the last two months, we've had several domestic homicides in Baltimore County," Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said. "What strikes us is many of these cases are committed by family members, loved ones, associates, people that we know and trust and we're with for many, many years."

Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch said he believes the rise in violent behavior around the holidays is linked to added stress.

"During the holidays, our expectations change -- what we want to give and want to receive -- so because of those, we don't cope very well with those stresses," Branch said.

Health officials said it's vital for people in crisis to take advantage of public services for assistance.

"It took me eight years, but (for) a lot of people, it doesn't take that long anymore because they realize now that the services are there and that there is a way out. They can see the light on the other side," Spicknall said. "I hope, by speaking out, that shows there is a light on the other side they can go to."

As part of her tour to speak against domestic violence, Spicknall said she emphasizes just how important those lifelines of help can be.

"I know, in my case especially, I didn't want to admit what was going on, and anyone who tried to help me I would push away. So, there are lots of resources out there to tell you how to help and what you need to do. The best thing I can tell people is just listen," Spicknall said.