Community raises awareness of domestic violence; new law

by: Allison Latos Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Charlotte woman marks the 54th person killed from domestic violence this year in North Carolina.

Eyewitness News was in Uptown, where a group of Ida Valentine's family, friends and community members walked in her honor.

Police said Valentine's ex-husband shot her in her west Charlotte home this month and then killed himself.

Gaylene Macuska didn't know Valentine, but she, too, experienced domestic violence.

She says she escaped an abusive husband 20 years ago.

"I was lucky he didn't kill me," Macuska said.

Assistant District Attorney Jamie Adams said the number of domestic violence cases in Mecklenburg County is growing.

The District Attorney’s Office handles about 60 each day.

"It's huge. It's an epidemic," Adams said.

Adams hopes a new law that takes effect Dec. 1 will help.

House Bill 176 has two parts.

It requires courts to review a defendant's participation in abuser treatment programs so judges know whether defendants completed the program, violated any rules or got kicked out.

"They'll know somebody is watching them and holding them accountable for their actions," said Adams.  "Secondly, it puts them in jeopardy of having their probation revoked."

The law also expands the convictions recorded as domestic violence offenses.

Adams said clerk's offices previously labeled only threats or assault on a female as domestic violence.

The group knows this walk won't erase domestic violence, but Macuska believes they can all make a difference.

"I want to cut down on the deaths," she said.