Stearns County Uses Targeted Approach to Tackle Domestic Violence
ST. CLOUD -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Stearns County has been a leader when it comes to tackling domestic violence crimes.
Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall says in 2008, they noticed an increase in repeat domestic violence offenders taking up jail resources.
This led to the formation of the Domestic Violence Court, which was designed to provide a targeted, specialized approach to monitor those repeat offenders.
Kendall says once a felony domestic violence charge is filed, it goes through a lengthy supervised process.
We have specialized probation agents take a look at them, we have specialized victim assistant persons who deal with the victims of those offenses. We take a completely different look of extremely high supervision and even surveillance on those offenders.
Kendall says this system breaks away from traditional approaches, and utilizes an intensive monitoring enforcement to better hold repeat offenders accountable for their actions.
Mike Lieberg is the Chief Deputy County Attorney. He says another key part of the Domestic Violence Court system revolves around victim safety, especially for children.
If you don't address the trauma that these kids are suffering from being within that home, it is just as likely they either go on to be abusers themselves or to be abused.
Kendall says there are about 30-40 serious repeat offenders in the domestic violence court, all who are monitored very closely.
She says because of this strong monitoring approach, statistics have shown a significant reduction in crime from these offenders and an increase in victims who are able to leave their abusers.
Coming up on Monday we will learn more about the victim support services the Stearns County Domestic Violence Court provides.