The Fight Against Domestic Violence
Domestic violence cases are among the hardest to prosecute in the criminal justice system. Often reluctant complainants, insufficient real-time responses, and a limited understanding of what are frequently very complex situations make these cases hard to prevent and difficult to take to court. We all know that the consequences of these criminal justice failures are tragic.
When Kathleen took office in 2006, she immediately focused on turning her office's prosecutors into the type of advocates that could have an impact on the lives of domestic violence victims. She increased the resources of her Special Victims Bureau and immediately strengthened the guidelines for bail and the orders of protection issued against defendants after their arrests. Kathleen improved the office’s ability to document injuries real-time and build evidence-based prosecutions so that her prosecutors could hold accountable a violent abuser.
Kathleen’s transformation of the office’s handling of domestic violence cases has resulted in an increased conviction rate and rise in the number of defendants going to jail as a result of their crimes. Kathleen’s Special Victims Bureau has also successfully prosecuted at trial several high-profile domestic violence murders, incorporating specialized expertise and providing typically-misunderstood domestic violence context to juries that otherwise may have struggled to understand the relevant continuum of abuse.
In 2010, Kathleen was one of the driving forces behind the creation of a secure, state-of-the-art, off-site facility that partners victim advocates, prosecutors, police and medical professionals to care for victims of physical and sexual abuse. The multidisciplinary facility has become the model for similar victim care centers around the state. Kathleen has also appointed specially-trained prosecutors to serve at the facility and she has secured grant money to create locations capable of recording and transmitting sensitive child interviews and testimony from the comfort of a secure, child-friendly environment.
In 2012, Kathleen appointed a veteran domestic violence and sex crimes prosecutor to the office’s chief assistant district attorney post. As the office’s top assistant D.A., she is further infusing throughout the organization Kathleen’s focus on combating domestic violence through comprehensive victim care, technology, prosecutorial expertise and improved public policy and state law.