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Ex-jail guard's sentencing highlights domestic violence
Ash, 41, a former sergeant with the Merrimack County House of Corrections in Boscawen, appeared before Judge Steven Houran in Carroll County Superior Court last Thursday and averted a trial by pleading guilty to a felony assault charge and two misdemeanors in the May attack.
Hallam, who lived with Ash and four young children for nearly eight years, said she was shocked when her husband first struck her five years ago.
"May 13th, 2013 was the worst day I've ever had to endure, it was almost my last day on earth," Hallam said in her statement. That was the day Ash punched her, dragged by her hair and slammed her head into the bathroom floor. She said the doctor who treated her said one more bang to the head could have killed her.
Domestic violence battle
The sentencing in the Ash case wrapped up in the final weeks of national Domestic Violence Awareness Month — a time when Gordon is shining a spotlight on domestic violence cases.
Smith said one challenge that arises in domestic assault cases is the victim has second thoughts.
"I'm trying to figure out what to do, she said Monday. She still suffers headaches and dizziness from three concussions that resulted from domestic violence.
"They don't hear fighting every day," said Hallam, who would like to help other victims of abuse by volunteering.
Sessions were recently held in Littleton and in Concord in October, with other classes planned next month. Gordon said the classes train first responders how to identify victims of possible domestic abuse and whether that victim is at risk for serious bodily injury. Officers are trained to detect acts such as strangulation or signs of hair-pulling, and are given a set of questions to review with victims.
According to a summary of data from the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee, domestic violence was one of the nation's leading causes of death between 2001 and 2010.
"Home is a dangerous place for a domestic violence victim — 84 percent of domestic violence homicides occurred in the home while only 15 percent of these homicides occurred at some other place than a residence," according to the report. Women were the victims in 67 percent of the homicides.
Carroll County's domestic and sexual violence prevention program is called Starting Point.
Carroll County residents can call Starting Point for many support services. For information on the web, go to startingpointnh.org.
All services are offered free of charge and are strictly confidential.
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