Prosecutor presents innovative response to domestic violence

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In Nov. 2017, a 38-year-old Pierce County man violently struck his wife above her eye with a broken table leg and punched her in the face, arms, and back, causing visible injury and bruising. The assault was witnessed by the couple’s two minor children, a nine-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl. The man told the young girl, “I have to do this to make her stay away from me forever.” 

The girl called 911. When the man learned police were on their way, he became enraged. He also stated to his family, “It’s time for you guys to die.” The man was arrested, charged and found guilty by a jury. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison. 

This is just one example of the emotionally charged, sometimes dangerous, domestic violence cases seen daily by prosecutors. The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office is continually looking for ways to make our community safer for everyone. 

In 2017, the Prosecutor’s Office consolidated its felony and misdemeanor domestic violence prosecutors and victim advocates in one central location. This consolidated unit is the first of its kind in Washington and is housed inside the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center (CJFJC), which partners with law enforcement and other community advocates.  

“Working together we can better protect and support victims,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “By providing resources and services to victims of domestic violence and their children in one safe location, the result is an effective, coordinated response to prevent domestic violence from escalating.”  

Domestic violence crimes happen within families, marriages, dating relationships and households. Crimes include assault, violation of protection orders, harassment, and property damage. The one thing these crimes have in common is they evoke fear and anxiety in victims, especially children. The CJFJC is a one-stop-shop approach to expedite justice and ease fears.

At the CJFJC, victims can meet with prosecutors, victim advocates, and law enforcement officers. Even in non-criminal matters, victims can meet with community victim advocates and receive the individual assistance they need to develop a safety plan, get protection orders, housing, and legal and mental health counselling. 

By offering these services in a single, safe location, the CJFJC reduces the barriers that, historically, have kept victims from getting help. Together, prosecutors, victim advocates and other CJFJC partners employ a “coordinated community response” to domestic violence and thereby help them lead safer lives. 

If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, help is available. The CJFJC Domestic Violence Helpline is (253) 798-4166.

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