Medford PD spearheads new push to help domestic violence victims

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, May 28 2014 at 5:36 PM, Updated: Thu, May 29 2014 at 11:07 AM

Medford, Ore. -- A new effort that started this month is underway at the Medford Police Department to support victims of domestic violence. A full-time officer has been specifically designated to follow-up on abuse calls. Before, officers weren't required to do a follow-up, however now with the help of federal grant money, they're able to.

The new service is something one Medford woman said is absolutely necessary to help people like her get out of dangerous situations.

She would only identifying herself as Sarah and hid her face, uncomfortable with the stigma of being hit by someone she once loved and scared her ex husband's family will hurt her for speaking out.

"The first time he hit me, I was eight months pregnant," Sarah recalled.

That was the start of eight long years of verbal and physical abuse.

"He strangled me," she began.

"He mangled my face. I had bruised eyes and bloody bruised lips," said Sarah.

She also said her husband raped her and kicked her so hard she urinated blood for days. Sarah said she stayed because she was afraid her husband would hurt their kids if she tried to leave.

However, she said once her husband threatened the lives of her children and threw her and her kids out, she ended up in shelters.  That's when she got the help she desperately needed from Medford Police Officer Bob Mccurley.

"I would not be out of the situation if it weren't for him. I can guarantee that," said Sarah.

She said she is glad others will get the help they need too, now that the Medford Police Department designated Mccurley as the full-time officer charged to follow up with domestic violence victims.

"We just felt that the department could do more," said Mccurley.

Before being assigned to the new position, Mccurley said in addition to his regular patrol shift, he kept in touch with victims and made himself available as a resource for them.

He said his desire to do something about domestic violence, began 10 years ago when a woman was killed and her husband was arrested.

"I knew the victim and I knew the person who was arrested and was actually very close with them. It's bothered me every day that homicide occurred," said Mccurley.

So now Mccurley is focused on helping people get out of dangerous relationships.

"We basically help them out with the services that are available ... see how they're doing and just let them know that there are folks to support them," said Mccurley.

MPD says the new push is unique in the Rogue Valley. It's set up to help people like Sarah, who after trying three times to leave, is now out of her abusive relationship.

Thanks to the help she got, Sarah is now stronger than she ever was before and she hopes other victims can find that strength as well, with a little help.

Sarah said if she can get out, so can other people who are being abused by a significant other. She said it's important that victims take pictures of bruises and wounds as well document their abuse. She also said to call police if necessary, even if it's a neighboring couple who's fighting.

Resources

Medford Police non-emergency dispatch line: 541-770-4784

Community Works Helpline: 541-779-4357 (Toll Free: 1-855-216-2111)

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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