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Audrey Skwierawski Asst. Attorney General Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor (VAWRP)

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Presentation on theme: "Audrey Skwierawski Asst. Attorney General Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor (VAWRP)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Audrey Skwierawski Asst. Attorney General Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor (VAWRP)



4 Law EnforcementCorrectionsAdvocacy Prosecutors Victim Services Health Care

5 Thank you for the amazing work you continue to do to keep victims and families safe… And to hold perpetrators accountable






11 Anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 DV cases reviewed by District Attorney each year Those are only the cases that get to the DA desk, many many more are investigated And many more never get to the police in the first place

12 The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV) released statistics related to state domestic violence homicides that took place in 2011. Forty people were killed in 34 incidents.

13 50 – 57 % of women presenting at a health care system experience physical/emotional abuse in their lifetime


15 Behavioral, social, and emotional problems. Children in families experiencing domestic violence are more likely than other children to exhibit aggressive and antisocial behavior or to be depressed and anxious (Brown & Bzostek, 2003).

16 Cognitive and attitudinal problems. Children exposed to domestic violence are more likely to experience difficulties in school and score lower on assessments of verbal, motor, and cognitive skills. Slower cognitive development, lack of conflict resolution skills, limited problem solving skills, pro-violence attitudes are other issues identified in the research (Brown & Bzostek, 2003; Edleson, 2006).

17 Long-term problems. Research indicates that males exposed to domestic violence as children are more likely to engage in domestic violence as adults; similarly, females are more likely to be victims (Brown & Bzostek, 2003). Higher levels of adult depression and trauma symptoms also have been found (Silvern et al., 1995). Exposure to domestic violence is also one of several adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that have been shown to contribute to premature death


19 Use of coercive, controlling behavior backed up with physical, psychological, financial and sexual power tactics Escalates in frequency and severity over time

20 968.075(1)(a) Defines domestic abuse as 1.Intentional infliction of physical pain, physical injury or illness 2.Intentional impairment of physical condition 3.A violation of 940.225(1), (2) or (3) [sexual assault] 4.A physical act that may cause the other person reasonably to fear imminent engagement in the conduct described in 1, 2 or 3 above

21 An adult person against his or her spouse or former spouse, An adult with whom the person resides or formerly resided An adult with whom the person has a child in common

22 Domestic violence affects victims regardless of : race religion gender/sexual identity culture social identification educational level age ability/disability immigration status economic status

23 Women are much more likely to be victimized by a current or former intimate partner. Women are 84 percent of spouse abuse victims and 86 percent of victims of abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend About three-fourths of the persons who commit family violence are male

24 Women age 16 to 24 are at the greatest risk of experiencing nonfatal intimate partner violence. Initial studies indicate that: – Domestic violence is more often reported by the poor who rely on the police for dispute resolution – African American, American Indian and Alaska Native women experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

25 Compared to women without disabilities, women with disabilities are more likely to experience physical and sexual violence (Brownridge, 2006; Martin et al., 2006; Powers et al., 2002; Smith, 2008), increased severity of violence (Brownridge, 2006; Nannini, 2006; Nosek et al., 2001b), multiple forms of violence (Curry et al., 2004; Martin et al., 2006; Nosek et al., 2001a), and longer duration of violence (Nosek et al., 2001b). Interpersonal Violence and Women With Disabilities: A Research Update (11/08/2009) Laurie E. Powers, Rosemary B. Hughes, and Emily M. Lund.



28 Beneath the surface there is more than meets the eye….

29 Why doesn’t she leave ? Why does she recant or change her story? Why doesn’t she want to prosecute ?

30 Which choice is the right one ? FIGHT BACK LEAVE STAND STILL



33 Flight – Run Away! Fight – Strike Back! Freeze – Don’t Move!

34 Impacts the limbic system yielding reduced hippocampal and amydalar volume; Alters the production of stress hormones (I.e. cortisol) and neurotransmitters (epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin); Diminishes integration between left and right hemispheres.

35 Loss of control; Attempt to regain control & personal safety; Perception or belief that individual is unable to defend or care for oneself; Individuals reassert control by using coping strategies & problem solving skills based in previous experiences.

36 oDistortion of memory, time, worldview, safety, trust & reality… oCreation of confusion, chaos & the necessity of a survival response… IN THE SPLIT SECOND BEFORE THE SEMI-TRAILER SLAMS INTO YOUR VEHICLE, CAN YOU CALCULATE THE MASS, ACCELERATION & ANTICIPATED FORCE OF IMPACT?

37 Hysterical Crying Screaming Unable to follow directions/confused Not providing details Calm Unaffected

38 Uncooperative Hostile Angry Fearful Blaming Physically/Verbally Aggressive Refusing to talk

39 Even though our first reaction when hearing that someone is being abused might be “you should leave!” that is not always the safest advice to give. When someone decides to leave an abusive relationship, the abuser can significantly increase the level of violence in order to maintain control.

40 Potential impacts on the victim Bureau of Child Welfare Loss of employment Poverty or homelessness Humiliation Frustration of family members and friends

41 “For the researchers, the bottom line was that victim satisfaction in domestic violence cases appeared to hinge on the extent to which the victim felt control over ending the violence in the incident, control over her offender’s future conduct—and even over the criminal justice system. When the victim had a low sense of control, satisfaction with the system decreased significantly. “ NIJ Journal No. 253 January 2006

42 Victims know best about their own safety and well-being, and when they have a greater sense of control while working with agencies, they find the services more helpful and effective. Zweig, Janine, Martha R. Burt, and Ashley Van Ness, Effects on Victims of Victim Service Programs Funded by the STOP Formula Grants Program, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 2003: 16 (NCJ 202903).

43 The majority of abusers are men – with national studies finding that women are the victims in as much as 85% of domestic violence incidents.

44 Studies have found that nearly one half of abusive men grew up in homes where their father or step father was an abuser.

45 Changing learned behaviors is HARD A walk around the block won’t do it

46 “Violent Individuals” theory = compelling evidence that many batterers are violent beyond domestic violence. More accurately viewed as violent criminals, not solely as domestic batterers who are otherwise law-abiding in the “outside world”

47 One study showed that more than 70% of offenders in jail for DV had prior convictions for other crimes.

48 Offenders can be very calm, and persuasive at the scene. Offenders use manipulation with their victims, and they are good at it. They will try to use these same skills with us. Although some of the approaches we use for DV must be unique, we can apply techniques we acquire from other types of crimes


50 Risk assessments and measurement tools that allow us to concentrate resources on worst offenders Apply geographically based policing techniques Where are the batterers? Where are the victims?

51 Who is holding the cards? How many cards are we really holding?

52 Yes, investigation – prosecution – conviction are of critical importance But big picture 360 examination = every opportunity counts Every step of the process provides us with life- changing moments to support the victim and provide negative consequences for abusers

53 Layers of consequences for abusers – A study of more than 2,500 DV victims concluded that just the act of calling the police had a strong deterrent effect on re-victimization. – Arrest – Prosecution – Batterer’s intervention programming

54 Layers of support for victims – Coordination in systems of support – Providing advocacy – Access to orders of protection – Safety planning – Ensuring feeling of control


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