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The Price of Spouse-Abuse Prevention

July 10, 1994

* Your article ("Spousal Abuse Is Rarely Prosecuted as a Felony in O.C.," June 26) on the handling of domestic violence cases in Orange County was thought-provoking and raised many questions. It is interesting to recall that 20 years ago, San Diego County was light years ahead in its approach to child abuse. The 1974 Orange County Grand Jury relied heavily on the San Diego program in trying to bring ours into the 20th Century.

Why the difference? There is (the) county and (the) city of San Diego, and both have staffs specially trained. In Orange County, only Anaheim prosecutes its own misdemeanors. Some cities contract with the sheriff to save money. So does it come down to an unwillingness to pay the price? Or, as it was with child abuse, failure to understand that the cost of murder prosecution far exceeds the cost of timely intervention. I think we need to look further than the agency responsible for prosecution.

You stated that San Diego has progressed to proceeding on the evidence with or without the continued participation of the victim. What does it do about economic support of the spouse and children? I hope you will continue to pursue answers to the questions in this historically neglected human condition.

G.E. FERGUSON

Fullerton

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