SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.– Working in conjunction with the Women Prosecutor’s Section of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office assisted in developing a Best Practices Guide aimed at combatting domestic violence.
According to Assistant District Attorney Mary Ashley—who is currently vice-chair of the Women Prosecutor’s Section (WPS) alongside Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey—the newly-released National Domestic Violence Prosecution Best Practices Guide is aimed at informing and recommending practices that are effective and consistent throughout the nation.
“On this surface this guide is about best practices, but deep down, it’s about reducing violence against women,” said Ashley. “It’s about combatting the issues of sexual assault and human trafficking and all crimes against children—and it’s about empowering victims to break the cycle of abuse. These are problems that plague our county as well as victims across the state and nation.”
Ashley added, in 2016, there were over 3,100 domestic-violence related cases filed in San Bernardino County. During that same time frame, 271 defendants were sentenced to state prison for a total of 1,296 years for domestic-violence related charges, and 1,744 defendants were sentenced to County Prison and County jail for a total of 696 years.
The primary goal of drafting and releasing this resource is to increase victim safety, offender accountability, and community accountability by challenging prosecutors to aggressively prosecute domestic violence cases when the evidence supports prosecution and promoting multidisciplinary, multi-agency collaborations and co-located service models, such as family justice centers and similar multi-agency approaches and coordinated community responses.
Among the key items covered include:
- Strategies for the successful prosecution of cases even when victims are unable or unwilling to participate in prosecution.
- Ways prosecutors can play a valuable role in advocating for community-oriented interventions to help support survivors and their children in breaking the vicious, generational cycle of family violence.
To view the entire document, visit: https://goo.gl/zEyFj2
“As a representative of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, it is an extraordinary opportunity to be at the table on these vital issues whether it be through training, seeking additional government resources and funding for our county, advocating for victims’ rights, and sharing best practices," said Ashley.
The goal of the WPS is to promote mentorship and leadership for women across the country in prosecutor’s offices and building a culture of women leaders in the criminal justice system. The WPS creates opportunities to address issues such as Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse at a national level and create partnerships and materials to assist prosecutors in handling these cases.