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Protect against domestic violence

One study estimates nearly one-fourth of the girls and women in West Virginia have been or will be victims of domestic violence. That explains why curbing it is one of the priorities of the West Virginia Supreme Court.

This week, its justices announced the high court has released a series of YouTube videos on the domestic violence petition process. The videos can be accessed on the courtswv.gov website (under “Public Resources,” scroll down to the link on domestic violence).

In 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available, more than one-fourth of the filings in magistrate courts throughout West Virginia were petitions seeking emergency protective orders.

And, as MetroNews reports, there were more than 11,400 domestic violence filings in family courts across the state. That was 44 percent of total filings.

High court officials had the videos produced and made available in order to let victims of domestic violence know the court system can help.

For many people, the court system is a mystery. Those who cannot afford attorneys sometimes conclude they will get nowhere if they appeal to a magistrate or judge.

But many in law enforcement are eager to aid domestic violence victims. ?The videos, providing step-by-step information on how to seek protection, should help.

But as law enforcement officers are aware, emergency protective orders are disobeyed frequently. More than two-thirds of the women murdered in West Virginia are killed by family or household members, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

What can be done about it? Obviously, educating young people to understand harming another person is never all right, except in self-defense, helps.

Convincing girls and women who are victims to pursue charges against attackers is vital, too. Some females do not take that course.

Finally, we West Virginians have to do more to protect girls and women we know, perhaps in our own classrooms or neighborhoods, against attackers. That can require some courage and a call to the police, even if the victim does not want it made.

A little unpleasantness, however, beats a trip to see the victim in a hospital — or a funeral home.

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