The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 24, 2012

Our View: Saving victims

The Joplin Globe

— Monica Webb appears to have taken the right steps in reaction to her husband’s abusive behavior.

She reported the alleged abuse.

She obtained a protection order.

She moved out and didn’t let him know where she was living.

When he found her nonetheless and let her know that he knew where she was living, she reported the violation to police.

One way or another, at that point, the system let her down and failed to provide the protection that she sought. Issuing a summons rather than an arrest warrant, in our view, is too lax a response in such cases.

A warrant was issued three days after the alleged protection-order violation when Webb’s husband missed a court hearing on the misdemeanor assault charge.

But that warrant was 11 days old and had yet to be served when she was shot and killed on Nov. 17. Her estranged husband, who also attempted to kill himself, has now been charged in connection with Webb’s death.

That raises a question whether warrants issued in domestic violence cases should be given greater priority by law enforcement agencies.

In 2010, there were 1,230 reports of domestic violence in Jasper County. In Newton County, 502 cases were reported during the same year, and 391 in McDonald County.

We urge prosecutors throughout our readership area to review the manner in which protection-order violations are being handled.

If the system is to act as a safeguard for the victims of domestic abuse, it must be examined when it fails.

Monica Webb, 36, mother of three, did all the right things in an attempt to protect herself.

Don’t let her death be in vain.