New victims' advocate starts work for Cole County
Bill Tackett on
Often we rely on statistics as
a measure of success or failure. However, statistics can be used to prove
or disprove the same proposition, depending on the point of view someone
With domestic violence,
statistics cannot accurately capture success or failure in prosecution.
As any well – seasoned domestic violence victim advocate will tell you,
success occurs only after the “cycle of violence” is broken. A victim may
be abused repeatedly before the cycle is broken. These repeated attacks
may occur where the victim refuses to assist in prosecution and there is,
therefore, insufficient evidence on which to base a conviction.
Over a seventeen-year period, the prosecutor's
office has had tried two approaches where the abused woman has refused to
testify and where there is not sufficient evidence to support a criminal
Do not file charges unless
the witness will testify.
Do file all charges, but
later dismiss them when the witness does not testify.
Depending on which one of these
approaches is utilized, the statistics will vary; but the result is the
same: no conviction. The cycle of violence continues!
Obviously, where there is sufficient evidence to
bring charges without the victim's testimony, our office has always filed
As both a prosecutor and a
member of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service (RACS) Board for 13 years, I
helped raise funds to build a new shelter, fought for tougher laws to
combat domestic violence and I co-founded the RACS Foundation while
serving as the RACS board president. This cause is one about which I care
deeply and which affects what I do every day as your prosecutor.
Successful prosecution requires
thorough investigations and witnesses willing to cooperate in obtaining a
conviction. We make every effort to make this happen. Our office assists
women on a daily basis who are applying for ex parte orders from the court
and we are constantly providing community resource information to the
hands of victims of abuse.
We work every day to create an
environment when victims stay with us throughout the criminal process,
giving us the best opportunity to convict abusers and prevent future
abuse. Our track record supports the validity of our efforts, and we will
continue to use every tool available in eradicating domestic violence.