Domestic Violence Unit
Historically, domestic violence cases were not prosecuted as aggressively as they should have been. This was true in large part because of a lack of resources and an over-reliance on the victim's cooperation coupled with a lack of understanding about the dynamics of abusive relationships. The Domestic Violence Unit was established in 1997 to address all of these concerns.
Two specially trained domestic violence investigators, one in Murray County and one in Whitfield, conduct follow-up investigations in all domestic violence cases, building upon the work began by the law enforcement agencies that are the first responders when violence occurs in the home. These investigators conduct follow-up interviews, take additional photographs, particularly of bruises that often are not fully developed at the time of the initial law enforcement contact, and collect additional evidence to enhance the prosecution.
Direct assistance is also provided to the victims of domestic violence through a victim advocate assigned to the unit. The advocate is available to meet with the victim, answer questions about the criminal justice system generally, as well as about the victimís case in particular, to accompany the victim to court and to assist with other services including applications for protective orders and referrals to other agencies which provide additional services. In particular, the Domestic Violence Unit partners with the Family Crisis Center to provide further assistance to victims.
Why is Domestic Violence Different?
Domestic Violence is different from other violent crime due to the nature and dynamics of the relationship between victim and offender. In the past, the decision whether to prosecute or dismiss a case was largely up to the victim. This practice had the unintended consequence of empowering the offender, who through threats, promises or other acts of coercion could often manipulate the victim into seeking dismissal of the criminal case, contrary to the victimís own best interest.
By thoroughly and completely investigating cases of domestic violence, the prosecution is often able to proceed without the victimís cooperation. The victim's safety is thereby enhanced when the offender realizes that he cannot control the process by controlling the victim.
Danielle Wise, Victim Advocate
In Murray County:
Murray County Courthouse
Chatsworth, Georgia 30705
In Whitfield County:
P.O. Box 6194
Dalton, Georgia 30722