Chris Brown and Rihanna Assault Case Brings Attention To Assault in Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Chris Brown and Rihanna Assault Case Brings Attention To Assault in Tri-Cities

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- The Kennewick Assistant City Attorney says every time there's a domestic violence call and an arrest is made the case can end up in court.

Whether it goes to trial, is a little more difficult. The case of Chris Brown and Rihanna isn't actually considered domestic violence, but in any similar cases assault charges can still be filed.

Brown pleaded not guilty Monday to allegedly threatening and assaulting his girlfriend Rihanna. In the Tri-Cities the violence is a daily battle.

"Our crisis line rings a dozen times a day, people reaching out for help, our advocates are in the court house assisting upwards of 10 to 20 people a week," said Erin Gailey, with Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties.

While Brown could face up to 5 years in jail, the reality is assault cases are some of the hardest to prosecute.

"To co-operate with prosecution, to come in and testify in trial against someone who is the father of your children, against someone who is providing support for you," said Eric Eisinger, Assistant City Attorney for the City of Kennewick.

Eisinger says domestic violence means the parties involved must live together or have to be related in some way. But there are exceptions.

"Just because a crime is not a crime of domestic violence doesn't mean that it's not a prosecutable case," said Eisinger.

Another reason why the cases are hard to prosecute is the lack of witnesses. Many times the victims will have conflicting testimony.

"Even though he did beat them up, they just feel all sorts of pressure to not come in and just tell it like it is," said Eisinger.

And in Tri-Cities Gailey says many cases go unreported.

Domestic Violence Services staff in Tri-Cities say they hope the attention brought upon the Chris Brown and Rihanna case helps bring more light to domestic violence awareness, and encourages more victims to speak up.

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