Saving the abused

Delphine Baldwin

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Police officers say domestic violence calls are the most dangerous ones they get.

The situation is usually hot-tempered and highly emotional, and the truth is not always easy to sort out.

First News Anchor Amy Radinovic examined the domestic violence problem through the eyes of a local woman, who has made helping victims her passion for nearly 40 years.

Delphine Baldwin was a Youngstown police officer for 31 years. She was the department’s first female sergeant, with a passionate focus on domestic violence.

Baldwin hit the streets in 1978, the first year the domestic violence law hit the books. Before that, the highly emotional cases were considered assault.

“What I really like about the issue of protection orders is now I’ve seen a lot of changes in the law from when those orders first came out,” said Baldwin. “I’ve seen changes in the gun laws since Ohio does have the carry and conceal law.”

Baldwin taught women self-defense for years. She also shared photos depicting images from the past four decades where Youngstown was one of the first police departments in Ohio to have a social worker on duty.

In the mid-1990s, Baldwin fought for a state grant for a special domestic violence unit at the Youngstown Police Department. That department now answers at least 1,000 complaints a year.

Retired now for four years, this wife, mother and grandmother is still vigilant about what needs to change.

“Sometimes we still focus on the victim. Why does she stay? Why doesn’t she leave? Instead of looking at the perpetrator and asking the question why they’re doing the abuse,” said Baldwin.

As for the protection orders that are supposed to keep the aggressor away, Baldwin said those work only when everyone is on top of the situation.

“From the police to the prosecutor to the judge, everyone needs to be on the same page,” said Baldwin. “And if we can do that, these protection orders will work.”

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