Mayor Mike Rawlings Campaign to End Abuse in The Dallas Morning News

by Emily Roberts | Oct 29, 2013

Editorial: Mayor Rawlings’ campaign to stop domestic violence goes on

October 15, 2013

The domestic violence epidemic that Mayor Mike Rawlings declared war on after a brutal January slaying at a Dallas parking garage has hardly disappeared. But the numbers this year show a slight slowdown in domestic violence cases in Dallas.

Dallas police have investigated a reported 7,749 incidents in the first nine months of 2013. That’s down from 7,848 in the same nine months of 2012.

Of course, we have no idea how many cases have not been reported. And the real goal is to stop abuse altogether. That’s the aim of the Rawlings-led campaign, which the mayor continues to emphasize.

Launching a crusade is one thing, but follow-through counts. To Rawlings’ credit, he’s working with police, shelter officials, prosecutors and others to stay focused on this effort. He also has named City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates to lead a domestic violence task force.

Similarly, police are prosecuting more attackers this year. They have filed 3,411 cases, up from 2,974 last year. That increase shows more victims are willing to file charges. That can be difficult because of fear of retribution or the trauma of naming a family member, but victims are courageously taking that step.

Police also are using new techniques to stop perpetrators. For instance, officers are leaving their cellphone numbers with victims in case a batterer returns immediately after an investigation. In at least one case, that small step has already made a big difference in keeping a woman safe.

On another front, Dallas County felony court judges, led by state District Judge Rick Magnis, are beginning to expedite domestic violence cases. Their goal is to try cases involving abuse suspects within six months of an indictment if the alleged attacker shows a risk for future violence. Experts contend the quicker a case goes to trial for a likely repeat offender, the more likely that person will receive the kind of intervention that will stop him from battering again.

As encouraging as these developments are, the domestic violence scourge is far from eradicated. So Rawlings’ next effort involves trying to change the kind of family culture that tolerates domestic violence. The mayor will ask those who attend and participate in nine Dallas ISD football games next month to sign a pledge not to hit women. “If you want to be a big man on campus, you can’t hit women,” the mayor said during a recent news conference.

These efforts can’t bring back Karen Cox Smith, whose estranged husband killed her in that Dallas garage on Jan. 8. But it’s reassuring this campaign continues. For her sake and those of other victims, Dallas can’t relent.

Big man on campus

Male attendees at nine DISD football games Nov. 7 and 8 will be asked to sign a pledge not to abuse women. The pledge will be available at

Thirty-second public service announcements will run during the games and explain why violence against women is not acceptable.

Local leaders, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, will make appearances to emphasize the pledge.

The school with the most signed pledges will win a prize.