New position with Erie County District Attorney’s office intended to address increase in domestic violence

Local News

Reported domestic violence cases are on the rise in Erie County. The creation of a new position in the Erie County District Attorney’s office for domestic violence is intended to address this increase.

The position was discussed Thursday evening in a Erie County Council meeting. Council going over a technicality of the position. However, during their last meeting, Council passed the creation of a new position.

The Erie County District Attorney’s office is working to address the growing number of domestic violence cases with a new position.

“We see, you know, in the past year or so, there has been a spike in domestic violence cases that are coming through our office and the district attorney thought there was a need for a district attorney to handle those specifically.” said Mark Schau, Chief County Detective at the Erie County District Attorney’s office.

There’s a countywide initiative for law enforcement to complete a lethality assessment protocol when they go to domestic violence calls. The assessment questionnaire helps gauge whether victims feel they are in danger.

“The officer will then try to contact the victim’s services advocate right there at the scene and put them on the phone with the victim.” Schau said.

The new attorney position will follow up with cases from this initiative.

Staff from one local organization that works with victims of domestic violence say the district attorney’s mission could go a long way.

“From the DA’s office, from the law enforcement and they’re all saying this is a problem, this can’t happen. It really sends a message to the victim and the abuser. It lets the victim know that they’re being supported and it lets the abuser know that we’re not going to have this in our community.” said Robyn Young, Director of Domestic Violence Services at SafeNet.

Young says the number of cases isn’t the only dangerous increase.

“We’re seeing an increase in the severity. We’re seeing a lot more strangulation and it just seems that while people were stuck at home, they didn’t have the opportunity to reach out before it got as severe.” Young said.

Representatives from SafeNet say their services are available 24/7. You can click here for more information.

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