Working on domestic violence cases can get tricky. Victims may not want to leave their abusers and may not want to cooperate during the trial. In such instances, the role of investigators and prosecutors become central in building a robust case that can withstand challenges like these. Evidence-based investigation and prosecution are the means to ensure justice will be served.
To talk about the nitty-gritty of DV investigation and prosecution is Jessica Rock. Jessica is the Assistant District Attorney with the Towaliga Judicial Circuit and the Georgia Statewide Animal Crimes Prosecutor and Trainer. She has an extensive background in animal law and domestic violence cases and the intersection between the two.
Specifics discussed in this session are:
- Domestic violence – its definition and inclusion, the common victim and perpetrator, and the dynamics by which it occurs.
- The cycle of abuse as it happens in DV cases where explosive abuse incidents and periods of reconciliation and relative calmness ebbs and flows.
- The intergenerational quality of violence where victims can turn into abusers due to exposure to violence.
- The negative outcomes of domestic violence in victims’ physical, mental, psychological, emotional, financial and social health.
- Domestic violence homicide – how violence escalates to homicide and how to prevent it from transpiring.
- The Duluth Power and Control Wheel that specifies the different ways abusers gain power and control over the victims.
- The two instances in an abusive relationship where violence occurs and escalates.
- Preventing DV through early intervention across different community stakeholders.
- A look into the lethality indicators that reveal the abuser’s potential to resort to lethal violence.
- Zeroing in on strangulation – statistics that highlight its prevalence, its lethality, and signs of strangulation to look for in the absence of a visible injury.
- Domestic violence’s link to animal, child, and elder abuse – checking on these other potential victims and probing animal, child, and elder abuse incidents for potential cooccurrence with domestic violence.
- A drill-down on the different elements of case preparation with guidelines on evidence collection, writing and serving warrants, conducting interviews and gathering statements and charging the perpetrator.
Jessica provided clarifications during the Q&A on:
- Resources for pet-friendly domestic violence shelters and lethality indicators.
- How COVID-19 social distancing and quarantine guidelines exacerbate cases of domestic violence.
- The different factors that may influence how a prosecution is done and whether charges are likely to be pled down.
Handouts and Resources
- “Everything. Very detailed information.” — Frank
- “Investigate every case as you would a homicide – don’t just rely on victim testimony – address the misdemeanor cases and we can prevent the more serious cases. Great webinar! You packed A LOT in and it didn’t feel overwhelming or rushed. Thanks!” — Audrey
- “I learned more about asking EMT’s for their statements and getting more in-depth info. I had known a lot about the strangulation but that is always good refresher.” — Becky
- “Thank You, the webinar was very interesting. more knowledge to educate the victims related to risk factors. for victims, adults, children, and pets.” — Celia
- “I’m in child protection, not prosecution – but it served as a good reminder of some of the evidentiary avenues/sources to track down for my cases.” — Carolyn
- “Very interesting to learn how much animal abuse there is if there is also violence in the home. Also good to know to ask about the other potential victims in the home as a way to get the victim to talk. Very thought-provoking presentation. Good presenter.” — Carrie
- “As a Forensic Nurse Examiner and Volunteer Crime Victim Advocate, I appreciated reviewing DV topics and importance of evidence collection. I also like the emphasis on early intervention and possible prevention of escalating violence. Good info to share with victims in the ER or in the home/PD. Thank you so much.” — Catherine
- “I loved the whole webinar.” — Desiree
- “Amazing presentation. Great information.” — Ebeth
- “The speaker was very knowledgeable and I appreciate her perspective. I found her insight on getting excited utterance information from a victim, defendant, and also witnesses and children very helpful. The idea of having law enforcement ride in an ambulance with a victim to collect that information is a great idea.” — Jaclyn
- “I could see this webinar becoming a series. She has so much experience and knowledge on the subject. Thank you for this webinar. It was great!” — Kim
- “Ms. Rock is an excellent speaker and keeps the flow of material moving along quickly. Great information sharing.” — Laura
- “The last 20 minutes were informative. I already had a good understanding of DV. Thank you I enjoyed the information.” — Jeffery