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October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a month in which we re-dedicate ourselves to ending the cycle of violence that devastates too many women, men and children in our communities.
The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence recently released a report showing that a person is killed in a domestic violence incident on average once a week in Wisconsin. And for every homicide victim there are thousands of other victims for whom violence or the threat of violence is an everyday reality. Unfortunately, options to escape the cycle of violence can be limited by many factors, including a feeling of isolation, fear of reprisal, worry for the care of children and insufficient economic resources, to name a few.
At the Department of Justice (DOJ), through the Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor (VAWRP) Project, we are working to promote awareness and training in the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence cases. In October, the VAWRP Project will sponsor trainings for state prosecutors on the importance of working with law enforcement and community partners in multi-disciplinary teams to enhance prosecution outcomes for victims. Then in November, the DOJ will sponsor a day-long training for prosecutors on the increased use of expert witnesses to explain to juries the obstacles facing victims as they try to leave violent relationships.
But the DOJ also provides ongoing technical assistance to local district attorneys to help them investigate and successfully prosecute domestic violence cases. And, our Office of Crime Victim Services (OCVS) provides federal grant money to domestic violence advocacy centers throughout the state to ensure victims receive the necessary support. The OCVS, through the Wisconsin Victim Resource Center, helps victims understand their rights and access the assistance they deserve.
Working together, we can re-commit ourselves to raise awareness and improve options for victims who seek safety. Those efforts, in turn, will help us to hold abusers accountable and stop the cycle of violence.
For more information and links to resources for victims, go to here.