Spokane group says reducing family trauma, violence is top prior - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane group says reducing family trauma, violence is top priority

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

It's a priority for Spokane for the next five years: reduce family trauma and violence. An organization called Priority Spokane says they are taking the next steps with the community to do just that.

There are stories that we see in the news too often like when a Newman Lake woman died after Thanksgiving in 2017. Her boyfriend is accused of beating her to death. There's also child abuse where a Spokane Valley man is accused of badly beating his girlfriend's toddler and sexually assaulting her.

Too many to count.

"I have definitely followed those stories and I know that those stories tug at my heartstrings," said Ryan Oelrich, executive director of Priority Spokane. Priority Spokane is a collaborative organization that reviews data and identifies priorities for Spokane County.

This year, with the help of the community, they will work on reducing family trauma and violence. "I've personally seen some data that shows that our rates of child abuse are above the state average. Also looking at the number of domestic violence cases that are also above the state average," said Oelrich.

"We can measure that. That's one of the things that we do at Eastern. We measure these trends, domestic violence," said Patrick Jones, Director of EWU's Institute for Public Policy and Economics, and part of Priority Spokane.

Now, they will take the next steps like what's being done in the community and making sure they don't duplicate any efforts that are already in place so that the community can have the resources it needs.

Priority Spokane is also tackling the issue of homeless students. They currently have a pilot program at certain schools, where health workers give resources to at risk students to make sure they stay off the streets. They are already seeing great progress.

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