What does domestic abuse have to do with our justice system?
The justice system, which includes law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, probation, and the judiciary, can be one of the most important resources available for people affected by domestic abuse. Victims of abuse access the legal system in a multitude of ways, ranging from when the police first respond to a domestic violence report to when the victim may go to court for a Protection from Abuse order. The civil legal and criminal justice systems work diligently to respond appropriately and effectively to domestic violence.
How can Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance help?
Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance works with the justice system in a variety of ways to support the system’s work and increase the safety of people affected by domestic abuse. Read on to learn more about the work we do with the justice system.
- Police: Many police departments in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties have designated domestic violence investigators, with whom Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance works closely to increase the safety of victims and hold batterers accountable. The Bangor Police Department was one of the first in the state to designate a dedicated DV officer as an essential part of the coordinated community response to domestic violence.
- District Attorney’s Office: Every district attorney’s office in the state of Maine has a designated victim witness coordinator who works with victims of crime as they negotiate the criminal justice system. Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance works closely with the Victim Witness advocate in Penobscot County.
- Batterer’s Intervention Programs: Certified Batterer’s Intervention Programs (BIP) provide the most effective way to educate batterers and hold them accountable for their behavior choices. Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance is available for regular consultation and collaboration with Choice-V and Acadia BIP, the two certified batterer’s intervention programs in Penobscot County. As part of Maine Department of Justice BIP standards, Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance is also responsible for monitoring these two programs to ensure that victim safety is being held paramount and that batterers’ are being held to a high level of accountability.
- District Courts: Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance does court outreach and court accompaniments in Bangor, Newport, Millinocket, Lincoln, Indian Island, and Dover-Foxcroft Courts. We are available to consult with court personnel, attorneys, and/or judges on a variety of issues related to domestic violence.
- Law Projects: Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance keeps in close contact with other agencies in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties offering pro-bono legal representation to victims of domestic violence, such as Penquis Law Project, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, and Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project.
- Trainings: Over the years, Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance has trained many local law enforcement officials in domestic abuse, and more recently in the Predominant Aggressor analysis. We have provided domestic violence training in the Victim Assistance Academy and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance continues to be available to do specialized trainings related to domestic violence and the justice system for professionals within this system.
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