KPHO: Domestic Violence Increase

Investigators said they are seeing an increase in cases of domestic violence in the east valley.

“I’ve seen my caseload increase 20 to 25 percent,” said Det. Kurt Scanio, secretary of the Mesa Police Association.

Scanio attributed the rise to a number of factors, including an increase in reporting, as well as a change in the law that adds boyfriend and girlfriend relationships to the domestic violence statute.He also said while the bad economy doesn’t create an abusive relationship, but it can make a bad relationship worse.

LaDawnna Hudson, founder of the Lighthouse Women’s Resource Center, said since the economy went south, she’s seen at least a 25 percent increase in women needing help.“There have been an increase in the amount of women we get in here that are coming out of abusive relationships, or are still in them,” said Hudson.

Hudson is a survivor of an abusive relationship. She got married when she was 18 years old, and the abuse began a few months into the marriage, she said.“He tried to kill me — several times,” said Hudson. “I was run over by a car, suffocated, and strangled.”

Hudson said it was a trip to the pediatrician with her 2-year-old son that made her realize she had to get out.”He had a nervous problem. He didn’t cry a lot but he would shake a lot,” said Hudson. “I went to take him one day and (the doctor) said, I don’t know what’s going on in your home, but you have to get this baby out of there.”

Hudson said she saved enough money, then one day left while her husband was at work.A national survey conducted by Mary Kay Inc. found three out of four shelters are seeing more women through their doors. Money and job issues are key factors, according to the study.

In Maricopa County Superior Court, orders of protection are up nearly 6% this past year.In Mesa, domestic violence calls have gone up 5 percent compared to the same time last year.

Investigators say domestic violence calls are up in other east valley cities as well.Domestic violence shelters, safe houses, and services in Arizona:

List of shelters in Maricopa County: