Digital Cameras and Domestic Violence Victims

Article excerpt

In September 2002, Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes announced a pilot program with Olympus America, Inc. to fight domestic violence with the help of digital photography. In anticipation of Domestic Violence Month in October, Olympus America presented Hynes and his staff with eight digital cameras along with printers and disks at a press conference. Olympus is a leading distributor of ligital imaging equipment.

Kings County receives more than 10,000 domestic violence cases annually. Trying these sensitive cases without hard evidence is a prosecutor's constant challenge. Digital cameras and printers will help to prosecute these cases by allowing the early gathering of images that may be used as evidence.

A critical stage in the investigation of domestic violence cases is when the victim arrives at the hospital with injuries. The District Attorney's office will provide Brooklyn area hospital emergency rooms with cameras and printers. Recording injuries at that stage will provide an image that accurately reflects the seriousness of the offense, as opposed to photographing injuries once healing has set in or make up has been applied to cover the injury. Once the victim has been evaluated, medical personnel will digitally record injuries sustained by victims.

Cameras will also be used by the District Attorney's detective investigators to record property damage such as broken doors and destroyed furnishings, at domestic violence crime scenes.

According to a 1999 study by the Institute for Forensic Imaging at Purdue University, conviction rates in domestic violence cases almost doubled with the use of digital photography versus traditional evidence gathering techniques. …