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Coalition Unveils Web Guide To Help Fight Domestic Violence.

The Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence today unveiled a new piece of software today it says will help successfully prosecute more Domestic Violence offenders. WOSU's Tom Borgerding reports the web guide will be accessible to police officers as they pull up to the scene of a domestic dispute.

Coalition founder Abigail Wexner says too many perpetrators of domestic violence escape justice. She says one of every four women in the U-S is physically abused at some point in their lives. So, the coalition developed what it calls a web-based response and instruction guide. Its designed to help police officers when they arrive on the scene of a domestic dispute.

"More effective work has to be done there in terms of making it easier for the victim to come forward and getting the prosecutions we need." Says Wexner.

Columbus Deputy Police Chief John Rockwell demonstrated the software. The response guide can be brought up on a police cruiser's computer monitor when he or she arrives on the scene of a domestic dispute.

"This kind of talks to them about, can I enhance this to a felony. Is there something that qualifies. Can this person carry a gun because they have a domestic violence conviction? Is this a protection order I can enforce or is it one I can't enforce is it like a stay-away order? Virtually anything that's out there that they have a question about is answered." Says Rockwell.

Rockwell says the new electronic guide will also help in training. New recruits get three days of training on how to respond to domestic violence. But, Rockwell says this guide will help keep veteran officers current on practices and legal precedents.

"Where we have a concern is when you get to the in-service level, you know ten years, twenty years later are you getting quality training. And we don't always have the time to bring them off the street for eight hours of training. Says Rockwell

Abigail Wexner founded the coalition against family violence in 1998. She says the Interactive guide will likely be expanded to business and health care communities.

"I think this is kind of breakthrough moment for us in terms of creating these types of tools because we're already thinking about all the various applications it can have in terms of being more accessible, adapting it to other environments so businesses and the health care community and others. But focusing on the legal system first was just a priority." Says Wexner.

Wexner says she hopes the new guide will be used by other police departments around the country.

Tom Borgerding WOSU News