Quincy District Attorney Bill Delahunt noticed that virtually every inmate at a nearby high security prison had a childhood history that included domestic violence and often sexual abuse. He believed that if he could prevent domestic violence all crime would be reduced and this is exactly what happened. A county that had averaged 5 to 6 DV homicides enjoyed several years with no murders. Detective Mark Wynn in Nashville and City Attorney Casey Gwinn in San Diego developed similar practices that also resulted in a dramatic reduction in DV crimes.
Dr. Vincent Felitti led the first ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study for the CDC. He found that children exposed to DV, child abuse and other traumas suffer more illnesses and injuries throughout their lives and their life expectancy is reduce. While this news could be depressing, it also provides an opportunity to improve lives and dramatically reduce common scourges of society like cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, auto-immune diseases, eating and sleeping disorders, AIDS, mental illness, substance abuse, suicide, sexual assault, school drop-out, teen pregnancy and auto accidents. Our national life expectancy would increase substantially when we use effective practices to prevent DV and child abuse.
Those of us who have dealt with so many tragedies because of our tolerance for DV and child abuse would happily spend significant resources to end this abuse, but most public officials have a different priority. Based on the ACE Study, however we now understand that the United States spends $750 billion every year on health costs related to DV. When we add the cost of crime and victims and children who cannot reach their economic potential the annual cost is over one trillion dollars. We can quickly save $500 billion with the proven practices in the Quincy Solution and this will provide an enormous incentive to public officials to support the Quincy Solution. The financial considerations should also help expand our coalition as businesses, charities fighting diseases, labor unions and many others will have strong incentives to join the campaign to prevent DV and child abuse.
Bill Delahunt noticed that victims stopped cooperating when their abusers sought custody. This did not prevent Quincy from reducing crime because at the time it was a rare tactic. Today abusive fathers routinely use the custody tactic to regain control over victims trying to leave them. The custody courts are so anxious to include fathers in children's lives and have developed outdated and discredited practices so that abusers are able to successfully manipulate the courts and gain custody. Accordingly the Quincy Solution must include the custody courts. We do this with the Safe Child Act which says the courts must make the health and safety of children the first priority in all custody and visitation decisions.
We have never known a society where women and children are safe in their homes. This will unlock the potential of these women and children and create a far healthier, happier and wealthier society. DV is not inevitable, but neither is the Quincy Solution. These life-changing benefits are only possible if enough good people join the campaign for the Quincy Solution and take control back from the abusers.