DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR SAYS LEGISLATURE, LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST LOOK AT SLAYING OF ARLINGTON OFFICER AS CALL TO ACTION

Veronica Galaviz says Domestic Violence laws are not working, and responding officers are not well trained on enforcing them, nor taking them seriously

DALLAS: Rowlett, Tex. Domestic Violence survivor Veronica Galaviz Wednesday said the slaying of Arlington Police Officer Jillian Smith while on a domestic violence call is further evidence that law enforcement is not taking the dangers of it seriously and that Legislatures across America need to come to terms that domestic violence laws are not working.

“I’m deeply saddened about the death of Officer Jillian Smith in Arlington, who apparently answered what was thought to be an inactive domestic violence call with no backup,” Galaviz said.  “The problem is once a domestic violence situation takes place, it’s never inactive again.  My belief is that anytime an officer is dispatched to the scene of a domestic violence event, whether in progress or not, they should have back up. This just goes to the feeling that law enforcement does not take the words ‘Domestic Violence’ as seriously as they should.  I’m living proof that this is pervasive throughout law enforcement.”

Galaviz also said that Legislatures across America need to re-examine what’s being done to stop domestic violence.

“In the past few months, I’ve been told that the Texas Council on Family Violence feels that there are adequate laws on the books pertaining to domestic violence, and yet people keep getting killed from it and this time, it also involved an officer of the law,” Galaviz said.  “It’s time for everyone from Gov. Rick Perry, the lt. governor and the Speaker of the House on down to get serious and begin to take a hard look at how we are failing those living in toxic relationships throughout Texas.”

“Lawmakers and law enforcement officers must begin to look at domestic violence as not something in the imagination of an alleged or potential victim, but rather from the standpoint of someone who is so far over the edge that killing innocent family victims, themselves and officers of the law is totally within the realm of possibilities. I’m one of the rare survivors.  Unfortunately, Officer Smith and the mother killed in Arlington were not,” Galaviz said.

Galaviz was nearly murdered when her estranged husband broke into her home at 1:30 a.m. on April 21, 2010, and set the house on fire before shooting himself. Prior to him breaking in, she had a protective order in place and had reported multiple violations of it to local law enforcement, who did nothing.

As part of her recovery, Galaviz has created LivingToShare.org and created her non-profit organization to help others who might be in a tragic domestic relationship.

During the April attack, Galaviz awoke to find her estranged husband in her home and armed with a shotgun.  He told Galaviz that he was going to kill her.  Galaviz says thankfully she had a friend also in the home who attempted to fend off her husband.  The friend was shot in the hand in the process.  Thankfully, Galaviz and her friend were able to escape and call authorities.  When the Rowlett Fire Department arrived at the home it was engulfed in flames and her attacker was found dead inside.

Galaviz’s conflict remains that she repeatedly notified the Rowlett Police Department of her husband’s violations of a protective order that was issued in November of 2009 with the assistance of her attorney, Julie Lucio, of Lucio, LaFleur and Associates in Richardson.

Each time Galaviz confronted RPD they told her that her husband hadn’t done enough to warrant his arrest so he could be brought before the judge who issued the protective order.

Veronica Galaviz

After surviving an attack in her home on April 21, 2010 by her estranged husband, Veronica Galaviz now seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of domestic violence, increase victims’ rights, implement tougher enforcement of protective orders and sensitivity training for police officers who respond to domestic violence complaints, and offer educational grants to victims allowing them to obtain financial independence and freedom from their abusers.

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