#JusticeinPimaCounty: Week 42
A PCAO Domestic Violence team – a prosecutor, paralegal, legal secretary, and, often, a victim advocate and a detective – are responsible for helping resolve extremely complex cases of harm. Unlike other kinds of crime scenes, there may be little to no physical evidence of a crime, and the prosecution may rely on what we typically think of as the testimony of the chief witness – in this case, the person in trauma who never wanted to be in the chief witness role. Arguably, these are some of the most difficult cases to take to trial in front of a jury.
Yesterday was Purple Thursday (or, as we call it here in Tucson, Paint Pima Purple Day), which we utilize to remind everyone that October is #DomesticViolenceAwarenessMonth. In continuing those efforts, allow me to relay a (sadly) not uncommon scenario during the pandemic when we’ve seen a nationwide uptick in incidents of domestic violence:
The victim needs, for example, an order of protection, and finds themselves in a courtroom for the first time as someone directly impacted by this intense trauma and confronted with all the complex feelings and responses that trauma triggers. Our goal in serving the victim – the top priority for both our Domestic Violence Unit (pictured) and our Victim Services Division – is to ensure that they know they’re not alone once they exit the courtroom.
Whether it’s through consistent follow-up from our DV Unit or Victim Advocates, or we’ve connected them with our amazing community partners in providing domestic violence resources – like Emerge, the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), or the Southern Arizona Coalition Against Sexual Assault (SACASA) – every victim we serve has a resource to help them recover from this trauma.
A domestic violence trial could be a two-year process, but the work the DV Unit performs in a scenario like the one above, an emergency situation, could be just 30 minutes of chaos, shock, and trauma to a victim. In those 30 minutes, our DV Unit and Victim Services Division take victims from a very bad place to our partners, with a safety plan.
Our entire Office is proud and grateful for the work they do.
To be continued,