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Press Release

Law Enforcement and Service Providers Partner to Address Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month as proclaimed by Presidential Proclamation. Domestic violence statistics are alarming.  Nearly one in four women and one in seven men have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Besides the physical violence endured, victims are often deprived of basic liberties, lose their autonomy and almost daily face threats to their health, safety and security. October is dedicated to reaffirming America’s commitment to ensuring that no one suffers the hurt and hardship that domestic violence brings.

To reaffirm this commitment, local and federal law enforcement agencies joined area domestic abuse service providers today at Waypoint Services to discuss, among other things, the federal laws that can be used to combat domestic violence in an effort to raise public awareness to the issue.

United States Attorney Kevin W. Techau stated, “Domestic violence continues to devastate the lives of Iowans across the state.  Experience tells us that the severity of such crimes frequently escalates over time, sometimes with deadly results. It is crucial for victims of domestic abuse to receive protection and assistance from law enforcement agencies and community organizations.  The United States Attorney's Office has and will work shoulder to shoulder with our law enforcement and community partners to help ensure all Iowans are safe in their homes and communities.”

Joining in this meeting and the press conference that followed were representatives from the Cedar Rapids and Marion Police Departments, Linn County Sheriff’s and County Attorney’s Offices, and several domestic abuse service providers and homeless shelters, including: Waypoint’s Domestic Violence Victim Services Program, Cedar Valley Friends of the Family Victim Shelter Program, Amani Culturally Specific Services for African Americans, Madge Phillips Center, Willis Dady Shelter, and the Catholic Worker House.

Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, even death. The devastating physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.  Area service providers are key partners.

Tara Beck, Director of Waypoint’s Domestic Violence Victim Services Program stated,  “Waypoint’s Domestic Violence Victim Services Program continues to support upwards of 2000 victims of domestic violence every year.  Many of the individuals we support face very real threats of serious injury or death.  Community awareness about the dynamics of domestic violence, services available, and potential legal remedies is crucial in helping to create greater safety for victims and accountability for offenders.”

The Cedar Rapids Police Department worked closely with Cedar Valley Friends of the Family, the Linn County Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement representatives to initiate the use of an assessment tool when responding to abuse complaints.  Federal funding was secured to train responders how to assess a victim’s safety level when responding to domestic disturbances. A questionnaire will be used by responding officers as one tool to assess the circumstances. A series of questions will be asked of the alleged victim to aid in making an appropriate service referral to protect them from future harm.  Chief Wayne Jerman added, “We are recommitted to prevention and response efforts and to holding accountable all alleged abusers.”

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden added that his office prosecutes approximately 500 domestic violence related cases each year.  “Many of our victims report that their abuse is not an isolated incident and that they have been enduring abuse for some time.  We recognize the seriousness of these offenses and know that all too often the degree of the abuse escalates, sometimes even ending in death.”  Vander Sanden added, “In the last 18 months there have been six homicides in Linn County alone that have arisen out of domestic relationships. We have to respect our victims, understand why reporting domestic violence is so difficult for some and why it is difficult in some cases for our victims to cooperate with the prosecution of these domestic abuse offenses.  It is our job to get justice for these people and send the message that domestic violence will not be tolerated.  The home is the last place a person should feel unsafe.”

Assisting victims of abuse with futures is equally important. The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (ICADV) is offering 35 survivors of domestic abuse the opportunity to change their futures. The Alice Barton Scholarship Program will grant $1,000 scholarships to be used towards tuition, books, supplies, childcare or housing.  The Program works to empower survivors of domestic violence through education and job training. “Abuse wreaks havoc on a survivor's life. Receiving an education is one way to start putting the pieces back together,” stated Elizabeth Albright Battles, Administrator of the scholarship program for ICADV.  She also noted, “A survivor has an opportunity to see themselves in a new light, learn new skills, and meet new, supportive people. Through the Alice Barton Scholarship, we hope to encourage more survivors to follow their dreams.” Learn more about this program by emailing Elizabeth Albright Battles at, or by calling 515-244-8028.

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Updated October 29, 2015