The rate of domestic violence case dismissals in New Mexico is approximately 80% while average conviction rates are less than 10%. The concerning statistics have some worried about the lack of accountability and an increase in violence.
The executive director of New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Pamela Wiseman discusses the organization’s ideas to improve those statistics. While the state of New Mexico is providing funding for services to prevent domestic violence, statistics show that rates are not going down.
“We are seeing an increase and the Legislative Finance Committee put out a report in which they said violence is not going down despite the fact the state is providing some funding for services. But what we want people to know is that the programs in New Mexico cannot by themselves reduce violence,” said Wiseman.
She explains the organization aims to clarify what causes violence to go up and what can be done to decrease those rates.
“When there’s not very much accountability, what happens is that violence increases. It’s known as punishment avoidance, we know this. So the criminal justice system is as found by LFC, uncoordinated, fragmented, they don’t communicate with each other and sometimes we don’t communicate with them very well,” said Wiseman.
She explains that when there are few consequences, violence will increase.
In order to improve that rate, NMCADV has been directed through Senate Memorial 106 to study the feasibility of developing coordinated community responses to domestic violence. A study will result in a report and recommendations that will be available by June 30, 2019.
As domestic violence programs are considered to be the backbone of communities in some areas across the state. However, for some places where services are sparse, they are the only safety net available.
National research, including some conducted in New Mexico domestic violence programs, shows that domestic violence program staff are well-positioned to create positive outcomes for victims as well as children which results in safer families.
For additional help including a list of New Mexico domestic violence service providers, and hotlines and resources, visit the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence website.