FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:October 2, 2013
Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809(703) 777-0242
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
LEESBURG, Virginia –October is observed nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) to highlight domestic violence and its impact on families and communities.
Research shows that one in every four women will experience intimate partner violence in her lifetime*. During 1994-2010, statistics show that women accounted for approximately 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence and men accounted for approximately 15% of the victims**. Additionally, 12 years of data collected by the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reveal that, on average, one-third of all homicides in Virginia were due to family or intimate partner conflict***.
“Domestic Violence creates havoc in a victim's and in an accused abuser's family and working lives. The effects of domestic violence are far reaching, including detrimental effects on children and extended family members,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman.
Loudoun County has taken a proactive approach to domestic violence, having established a multi-agency Domestic Violence Steering Committee which implements and oversees a coordinated community response. The Steering Committee also established the Loudoun County Domestic Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.) The Loudoun County D.A.R.T. is comprised of front line workers and mid-level managers from 10 partner agencies focused on increasing offender accountability through law enforcement, the court system, and community services. Increasing offender accountability and enforcing protection orders improves the safety of victims and children in Loudoun County.
In 2009, the Loudoun D.A.R.T. was recognized by the Virginia Attorney General for its work in responding to domestic violence as a locality that stood out as having the “best or “promising” practices. This honor was part of the program entitled “Safe In Our Communities.”
“Domestic violence cases can be extremely volatile because they are emotionally charged. This is one reason that we see an extremely large percentage of our homicides to be domestic related,” continued Plowman. “As such, several years ago we established a dedicated team of prosecutors and victim witness case managers to concentrate on these cases.” The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court has also established dedicated dockets where they hear domestic violence cases and monitor the progress of those placed under court supervision.
For more information about DVAM, domestic violence, and resources available in our community please contact the Loudoun County Victim Witness Program at (703) 777-0417 or visit www.loudoun.gov/oca.
*National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010**Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence Report, 2012***Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Annual Report, 2012