By: Alicia Turner
June 29, 2015 5:55 pm
THOMASVILLE, Ga. - A year ago, red marks on a victim’s neck meant a charge of simple violence, a misdemeanor for the abuser; but now those same marks mean aggravated assault which is a felony.
"Domestic violence is a serious situation. It is an epidemic in this country," said Maurice Holmes, of the Thomasville Police Department.
Last July Governor Deal signed House Bill 911 into effect. The goal was to continue imposing harsher punishment on abusers in domestic violence situations. Holmes said the bill was a push for law enforcement to continue their crackdown against the issue.
"It gives the court some strength, or some teeth in prosecuting these situations. Stronger bond sanctions are imposed, and the victim empowered more in this type of situation," explained Holmes.
Since this bill has gone into effect, more than half of aggravated assaults handled by the Thomasville Police Department have been related to domestic violence.
"They're thinking that they're getting arrested for a misdemeanor charge, and once they're advised what they're arrested for they don’t understand. What they did was attempted to murder that individual,” Holmes said.
According to the Thomasville Police Department, 44% of victims involved in domestic violence attacks involved some form of choking.
The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence also says, victims of strangulation are 8 times more likely to be killed by their abuser.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence you can visit the national domestic violence hotline website or call them 1-800-799-SAFE.