MESA, Ariz. — All throughout the Valley, domestic violence cases have skyrocketed in recent years. Dozens of women have lost their lives in domestic violence incidents since the beginning of 2020.
Mesa is no exception.
In a meeting, the city of Mesa said domestic violence-related aggravated assaults went up 338% from 2019 to 2020 (from 119 cases to 403).
So, the city plans to start a specialized court to handle the most serious domestic violence cases on July 7.
“We want to show the community that victims matter,” said Stacey Good, a prosecutor with the City of Mesa's Attorney's office.
Currently, domestic violence cases are spread around to different courts. Good said the punishment for a domestic violence-related conviction can be unsupervised probation or counseling.
If a person reoffends, sometimes the only punishment available is what didn't work in the first place.
“And then we are left with the same resources, so we put them back on probation and try to get them in counseling a second time, and it doesn't work,” Good said.
Mesa hopes with the new, specialized court, things will change.
The same judge and prosecutors would try the cases. Both the attorney and judge would have more experience handling these delicate cases. They would have more familiarity with the people who reoffended.
The court hopes to have a probational officer to provide more oversight.
“So when we have someone who offends again or has a serious case, they are treated appropriately,” Good said.
“I think I'm excited about it,” said Bailey DeRoest, Co-Director of the Sojourner Center.
She believes having a specialized court coupled with more oversight will help victims.
“It’s not the end all be all,” DeRoest said.
"If I can save one life, I did a good job,” Good said.
Up to Speed
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.
Domestic violence resources
If you or anyone you know is in a domestic violence situation help is available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233 (SAFE).
The Arizona Sexual and Domestic Violence Hotline is 602-279-2980 or text 520-720-3383.
For help at New Life Domestic Violence in Arizona, call 623-932-4404
Go here for more local resources and shelters.