Metro Detroit prosecutors provide resources to domestic violence victims who don't want cases to advance

Domestic violence cases tend to rise during the holidays.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said domestic violence cases in 2021 have been the worst she's seen.

"I have never seen domestic violence as out-of-control as it is this year," she said.

Worthy said her office will see nearly 10,000 non-fatal felony domestic abuse cases by the end of the year. There have also been 30 domestic violence-related deaths in Wayne County this year.

Aside from the usual holiday increase, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing further issues.

"A lot of times our victims of domestic violence rely on the person who they have to stay with," Worthy said.

However, prosecuting these cases is difficult. In about 25% of the cases Worthy's office handles, the victim doesn't show up to court.

"Insufficient evidence, we have complainants [who] don't wish to appear," she said.

Dr. Carol Van Dyke, a psychologist who has treated both domestic violence victims and abusers, said abusers can be good at making the victim blame themselves for the abuse.

"Oftentimes abusers are good at wearing down their victims emotionally where the victims tend to think that it's my fault," she said.

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Because of this, victims may not want to pursue cases against their abuser.

Prosecutors are working to provide resources to victims, even if they do not want the case to advance.

"We want to make sure that we give them services as well, even if they choose not to go forward," Worthy said.

Judge Carl Marlinga is a former prosecutor- probate judge - and now circuit judge, married Paul and Kristina Bashi.

He married them despite Paul Bashi being charged with assault with attempted murder- in a brutal beating three years earlier of his then-girlfriend Kristina.

"I did pull aside the now-Mrs. Bashi briefly to try to ask a few questions just to make sure she wasn't being pressured into this. It appeared not," said Judge Carl Marlinga.

"I don't really remember much," Bashi said. "I was on a lot of steroids, Xanax, Vicodin Valium, alcohol. I really don't remember much. But I know that after seeing the video I know what I did."

Dr. Carol Van Dyke has counseled, domestic abuse victims and abusers for years.

"The abusers are really good at emotionally and manipulating and controlling their victims," said Dr. Carol VanDyke, domestic abuse psychologist.

FOX 2: "Can the abuser change?"

"Yes definitely the abuser can change," Dr. VanDyke.

But that abuser would need long-term cognitive therapy.

"So he can understand the origins of his abuse, absolutely it can be effective," she added.

Of the over 10,000 felony domestic violence cases per year - and prosecuting them is hard.

"It's a very hard crime," Worthy said. "We do not victim-blame at all. We try to get our domestic violence survivors to cooperate. We don't force them to."

The goal, says Worthy, is always to prosecute the ones that can be prosecuted, and get help for the victims who don't go to court.

"Those are the ones that turn to the homicide sometimes," she said.

Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Carmen DeFranco highlighted some resources available to victims.

"There are victim advocates in our office who are here to help you, there are people at Turning Point in Macomb County who are wonderful people," he said.

Turning Point provides resources to victims of domestic and sexual violence. There is also an emergency shelter in Macomb County. Call Turning Point's 24-hour hotline at 586-463-6990.

Michigan provides resources by region to victims of domestic violence. Click here to find help.