DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - A MAJOR PROBLEM - PART 2
Law enforcement's handling of domestic violence continued to change
during the late 1980's and the early 1990's. During this period,
prosecutors and legislators began taking a hard core approach to
dealing with domestic violence cases.

The influx of women prosecutors and, of course, the O.J. Simpson case
were major reasons for this change.

Special units that dealt exclusively with domestic violence were created
by the District Attorney's Office, and it became a feather in one's cap to
be assigned to these units.


As a result of these changes, the police department's treatment of
domestic violence cases changed radically. Out of concern for liability
and for political considerations, police departments incorporated
no-nonsense policies of dealing with domestic disturbances. These
no-nonsense policies included:

1) Where there is a complaining party and slight corroborative
evidence, somebody is going to jail; and
.
2) The person going to jail is usually booked on a felony, so that bail
can be increased, making it difficult for the person arrested to get out.

The District Attorney's Office's handling of these cases also began to
look quite different than anything we had ever seen before.

Equipped with the passage of new penal code sections that made it
easier to obtain convictions and which created harsh sentencing for
these offenses, prosecutors became much more aggressive when filing
charges.

More dramatically, however, was the new tactic prosecutors used when
dealing with cases where there is a recanting or uncooperative victim.

Instead of automatically dismissing these cases, the prosecution would
usually proceed to trial using the victim's spontaneous statements as
evidence.

Our legal system's changed attitude toward domestic violence was also
reflected in the passage of numerous state and federal laws.

For example, we now have laws that provide victims of domestic
violence with "victim rights advocates" who accompany victims during
criminal proceedings and provide moral support."
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