EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 18, 2013

Longtime Haverhill woman helps advise president on gun control

Crisis center director Suzanne Dubus summoned to Washington


“We’ve been so successful in homicide reduction here and really identifying violent offenders and working to keep victims safer,” Dubus said. “We make sure everybody has training. We make sure we are paying attention to the right risk factors and that we are the repository for that information.

“If one of the team members hears about a case or a case is brought to the organization, they bring it to the team,’’ she said. “Not only do we hold the information, but we are also empowered to provide services to the victim or contain the offender. Those three things are what is lacking in a lot of these mass shootings.”

Dubus said in the case of the Virginia Tech shooter, for example, several people disclosed after the tragedy that they were aware the gunman had weapons and were afraid of him, but they had no one to report that information to.

“There was no group taking responsibility to report that,” Dubus said. “Had they reported it, they didn’t have the tools to do anything about it.”

Citing an interview with crime expert James Allen Fox, Dubus said 100 percent of the mass shooters in the last 20 years were themselves victims of bullying or early childhood violence. Dubus was intent on keeping that fact front and center during the two-hour meeting in Washington.

“I wanted to make sure people in that room stayed focused on that,” Dubus said. “As domestic violence advocates, we have a role to help (victims) heal in a way so that they truly heal so they can move forward in society with healthy lives rather than the opposite.

“We have a responsibility to put systems in place to help screen in campuses and schools and communities to make sure the most violent offenders come to the attention of those who can do something about it,” she said.

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