Domestic Violence Unit

This unit was established in 1995. Through coordination of the efforts of the criminal justice system, the unit works to hold abusers accountable, assure the safety of victims, and interrupt the cycle of domestic violence.

Disagreements develop from time to time in relationships. Domestic Violence is not a disagreement.  It is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to establish and maintain power and control over the other.  These behaviors can become more frequent and intense over time. The abusive person is responsible for these behaviors. That person is the only one who can change them.

As part of the commitment to the thorough investigation and preparation of cases for prosecution, two Legal Specialists and one Assistant State's Attorney staff the unit.  The Legal Specialists contact and interview victims and witnesses, gather necessary evidence such as medical records and 911 tapes, and issue subpoenas to assure the presence of all essential witnesses. The support offered victims by the unit often empowers the victim to go forward with prosecution who otherwise might not find the courage to proceed.  The State's Attorney Office has a pro-prosecution policy, which places the decision of whether to prosecute on the Assistant State's Attorney handling the case rather than on the victim.

Power & Control
Indications are that battering occurs because the abuser needs to establish "power and control" over the victim. The abuser employs a number of nonviolent and eventually violent tactics to maintain power and control.