Office of the United States Attorney, John S. Leonardo
District of Arizona
October 3, 2012
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COMMEMORATES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH WITH OUTREACH, TRAINING
PHOENIX – The United States Attorney’s Office will commemorate National Domestic Violence Awareness Month—the month of October—by participating in several tribal organizational meetings aimed at combating domestic violence in Indian Country. The meetings will allow federal prosecutors to collaborate with tribal communities on new tools to prosecute repeat offenders, improved training of tribal police in the most effective methods to investigate domestic violence, and the need for community members to report suspected domestic violence offenses.
“The United States Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with our federal and tribal investigative partners, has focused tremendous effort on effective investigation and prosecution of domestic violence offenses, and violence against women generally, in Indian Country,” said United States Attorney John S. Leonardo. “Over the past two years we have commissioned hundreds of tribal police to investigate federal domestic violence offenses, provided those officers with specialized training on the kind and quality of evidence required to sustain federal prosecutions, and cooperated with tribal prosecutors to improve the chances that batterers in their communities face justice in tribal court, federal court, or both. But the most important factor in reducing domestic violence is the involvement of the community members closest to the situation—family members, friends, and neighbors of the victim or perpetrator—in reporting suspected offenses. If community members fail to step up, and speak up, there will be no cases to prosecute. The best investigators and the best prosecutors will do no good without the involvement of those who know what is happening. We need you. Your community needs you.”
During outreach events to tribal organizations this month, federal prosecutors will discuss their current efforts and methods to address domestic violence in Indian Country. Prosecutors will also discuss their delivery of customized training on domestic violence investigation methods that improve chances for successful federal prosecution. The United States Attorney’s Office has delivered over 40 hours of such training to nine different tribal police departments in the past year, at the request of department chiefs and commanders. More of these training sessions are scheduled for this month for police on the Navajo Nation and the Yavapai Apache Nation. The training includes information on the use of the Habitual Domestic Offender Statute, a law recently enacted by Congress to provide increased punishments to serial batterers who have two or more prior tribal, state, or federal domestic violence convictions.
Finally, prosecutors will share with tribal communities the progress of the Tribal Special Assistant United States Attorney Initiative, a program that has allowed 16 tribal prosecutors from ten different Arizona tribes to be trained as federal prosecutors to handle federal cases arising in their communities. Under the program, which allows tribal governments to choose the offense types on which their prosecutors will focus, several tribes have chosen to focus on offenses that involve domestic violence and violence against women.
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-205(Domestic Violence Awareness Month)
# # #
For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/