Scott E. Kessler
Assistant District Attorney
The Domestic Violence Bureau is the newest bureau in the District Attorney's Office, having been established in August, 2000. The Domestic Violence Bureau prosecutes misdemeanor and felony cases involving domestic partners. Domestic violence cases are often the most difficult cases to prosecute and the problem of domestic violence is one of great significance and complexity. Because the perpetrator and the victim are usually intimately related, share a home and often have children together, victims are sometimes reluctant to follow through on complaints in court. Assistants in the Domestic Violence Bureau are specially trained to deal with the complex inter-personal dynamic involved in this type of case so that a safe and liveable resolution can be achieved in each individual case.
But, beyond prosecuting the crime of domestic violence, an integral part of the mission of the Domestic Violence Bureau is education. Assistant District Attorneys and Safe Horizon counselors speak to police, hospital staff and community organizations. As a result of the dedication, enthusiasm and relentless efforts of the assistants in the Domestic Violence Bureau, the number of domestic violence cases dismissed has been greatly reduced, and a higher percentage of convictions have been obtained. Many times assistants have proceeded to trial on cases without the cooperation or testimony of the victim, where there existed other adequate and admissible evidence to support the charges.
By establishing trusting relationships with victims early in the legal process, these dedicated assistants can help to ensure not only a victim’s safety, but also their cooperation in the prosecution of the case and often an outcome that addresses the heart of the problem.