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Domestic abusers find ways to reach victims from behind bars

Physical abuse is only part of the complex formula of domestic violence. Domestic abusers are largely concerned with maintaining control over their victims -- and they may not stop trying to hold onto that control from jail.

That's been the experience of detectives with the Domestic Violence Unit run by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office in Florida. Because calls at the local jail are recorded, officers were able to determine that some abusers continue to harass their victims remotely. Even no contact orders won't always stop an abuser who is really determined.

The Sheriff's Office is taking steps to change that situation so that victims no longer have to fear picking up their phones. An upgraded monitoring system on the jail's phone is now able to pick up on keywords that will let officers know quickly when abusers are "gaming" the system and using the phone to continue inflicting harm on a victim. The new monitoring system also relieves victims from having to testify in court about the calls -- a process that can be terrifying to many because it forces them to confront their abusers.

Domestic violence is being treated harshly these days. If you are accused of domestic violence, it's important to keep the rules regarding any restraining order against you in mind. They leave no room for compromises or negotiation.

If you've been arrested for domestic violence or there's a temporary protective order in place, don't attempt to contact the other party -- even if you are innocent. Any attempt you make to appeal to the other party's sense of reason or fair play will likely be construed as harassment.

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