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Domestic abuse expert weighs in on deputy-involved shooting in Wellington

Posted at 7:57 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2018-06-12 19:15:04-04

As detectives continue to investigate a deputy-involved shooting earlier this Wednesday morning in Wellington, local experts are now weighing in on the situation and the circumstances that led to a violent ending.

“It's shocking to me to see what people do to the ones they say they love,” says Dr. Mary Cauthen, Director of Domestic Abuse Programs with the YWCA.

Shocking, perhaps, but Cauthen says domestic violence is not unusual.

“I’m seeing it every day,” said Cauthen.

In this Wellington case, the woman involved left her house earlier this week, after reporting her husband for sexual abuse against a family member.

Cauthen says that decision to finally leave can be tough.

“Their emotions are all over the place, especially if they are still emotionally invested with that person,” she says. “They still care for them and love them and they just want the abuse to stop.”

The issue of where to go can also be difficult.

“You have to walk away from your life and your family and so do your kids, and you can only bring so much stuff with you,” Cauthen said.

PBSO says in this case, the woman was staying at a safe house.

She was coming back with deputies to get her belongings, which is something Cauthen says is common -- but can also be dangerous.

“Sometimes they're just angry they've been outed,” Cauthen said. “Angry that they've been told on. Angry that someone has the nerve to tell them what they're going to do and how they're going to do it.”

Domestic violence is dangerous for law enforcement as well.

"Abusers are unpredictable,” Cauthen said. “You never know what they're going to do. That's part of the terror for their victims at home, and it applies when police are responding.”

Dr. Cauthen says based on what she's seen, this all could've ended much worse.

“We are losing three women a day across this nation to domestic violence,” she says. “And people should care about that.”

Cauthen said it's hard to tell if the number of domestic violence cases here in South Florida are increasing.

However, she says the level of violence from abusers is getting worse, and that's a growing cause for concern.