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Domestic/family violence incidents remain a concern

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It’s still too early in the process to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence and family violence in the United States.

Some nations, however, are already releasing data. According to the National Institute of Health, “France has indicated a 30 percent increase in domestic violence reports, Brazil estimates domestic violence reports have jumped 40–50 percent, and Italy has also indicated reports of domestic violence are on the rise.”

Anecdotally, here in Baldwin County, a trio of violent family violence/ domestic violence incidents resulted in hospitalizations during the past week-plus.

A man had his top lip stitched up at Navicent Health Baldwin after “his girlfriend hit him in the face with a glass bottle.” The man did not wish to press charges however, and said that he was just passing through town and wouldn’t be back.

Meanwhile, a woman went to the emergency room early Sunday morning following an incident on Old Stage Road. The disagreement began after “(the girlfriend) confronted (the boyfriend) about a female that he supposedly had cheated on her with.” The woman told deputies that the man then grabbed her by the throat and hit her in the jaw. The woman added that “she went to the hospital because she was in a lot of pain and feared her jaw was broken.” A deputy “photographed (the woman’s) jaw from multiple angles and did not observe any visible injuries or swelling.” The deputy then made contact with the boyfriend at a nearby convenience store, and the man told the deputy that he was only defending himself and had a knot on his head. A possible witness to the incident was home at the time but said that he was watching old western movies and wasn’t paying attention. Due to “lack of probable cause, conflicting stories, bias witnesses and inability to determine a primary aggressor,” no arrests were made.

Last Friday, meanwhile, officers responded to Pritchard Street in the West End projects and located two people inside of the apartment with stab wounds and another with a head wound. Henry Smith, Jr., 44, eventually was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault. Smith is accused of stabbing another man twice with a serrated steak knife, causing “deep lacerations” to “both the forearm and the abdomen.” Smith, himself, also received injuries after his mother “grabbed a ceramic mallard duck statue and ‘busted it over his head’” in an attempt to get Smith to stop. In the process, however, the woman sustained cuts to her hands from the knife. The two men were transported to Navicent Health Baldwin for treatment, while the woman refused treatment.