The number of domestic violence cases in UA Little Rock’s student housing rose from 0 cases in 2013 to 3 cases in 2014 and increased to 5 cases in 2015.
Domestic violence is broadly defined, and the definition can vary from state to state.
According to UA Little Rock Assistant Police Chief J.D. Smith, domestic violence occurs whenever there is physical violence between two or more people who have a relationship. Most of the time on campus, the altercation is between a boyfriend and girlfriend.
“Most males involved already have that attitude because they’re coming from a violent home. They bring it with them into the relationship. At some point, something happens, and that violence comes out on their girlfriend. That’s where the domestic violence comes in,” said Smith.
UA Little Rock Director of Counseling Services Mike Kirk also believes that family history plays a role in domestic violence. “We do repeat those patterns, healthy and unhealthy, often times that we grow up with,” says Kirk. “I think that’s probably the biggest factor that leads to it is that they’ve seen it somewhere before in that sort of relationships, and they’re just repeating that pattern.”
University Police plays an important role in defusing the situation when responding to domestic violence calls at UA Little Rock. “The way we try to handle that is that we don’t take sides. We try to de-escalate the situation,” says Smith.
Depending on the severity of the case, both the Dean of Students and law enforcement may decide the punishment. “If it gets physical and we have to make an arrest, that’s going to be really serious, and that can follow you for the rest of your life on your record,” says Smith. According to Smith, the Dean of Students can have to make disciplinary decisions on cases with varying intensities.
Another contributing factor to domestic violence is stress. “It’s almost like being a pot of water on the stove at 211 degrees, and something that is not a big issue at all comes along, and all of a sudden, the individual is boiling over,” says Kirk.
Kirk says that the best way for a student to manage stress is to create a realistic, consistent schedule. “You’ve got to put in factors like you will be sleeping, you will be eating, and sometimes you have a job,” says Kirk. Kirk also says that the most commonly forgotten activity students neglect to schedule is study time. “You have to put all those factors in there.”
Counseling Services at UA Little Rock offers a safe place for students to confidentially seek help, regardless of the problem.
“Whether it’s time management, relationship issues, dealing with anxiety, depression. It [counseling services] runs the gamete,” says Kirk. “We’ve got experience to help the college student deal with the issues that come up, traditional or non-traditional students, and to help you figure things out to stay enrolled and be successful in college.”
Finally, when it comes to domestic violence, responding quickly is of the utmost importance. “Don’t wait 15 – 20 minutes after the fact to call us because that other person will be gone,” says Smith. “Call right away.”
For those seeking immediate help in domestic violence cases on campus, contact the University Police via 9-1-1 or 569-3400. There are also blue emergency phones located in several locations on campus.