Family Violence Targeted Camden Seminar Cites New Strategy

By Jackson, Gordon | The Florida Times Union, July 24, 1998 | Go to article overview

Family Violence Targeted Camden Seminar Cites New Strategy


Jackson, Gordon, The Florida Times Union


KINGSLAND -- Attorneys prosecuting family violence cases say a

strategy used to combat the crime has raised conviction rates in

Georgia: Don't let the victim testify.

The logic behind the strategy, speakers at a family violence

seminar held yesterday said, protects victims from reprisals and

prevents them from changing their testimony in court.

More than 50 people, including clergy, law enforcement,

victim's advocates, Navy personnel and judges, attended the

meeting at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base to learn more about

one of the most prevalent, yet under-reported crimes.

George Turner, assistant district attorney in Camden County,

estimated that "at least 25 percent" of his office's workload

involves family violence cases.

While much has been done to create awareness about family

violence during the past decade, more has to be done to stop the

cycle of violence, said Kim Warden, a magistrate judge in Fulton

County.

"Domestic violence crosses all lines, all occupations," Warden

said. "There is no logic to it."

One strategy used in courts to combat family violence is

relying on "evidence-based prosecution without victim

testimony," Warden said. This strategy is preferred because

victims sometimes recant statements made to officers responding

to the scene of domestic violence, she said.

Prosecution rates have increased statewide as a result of the

strategy, Warden said.

Nancy Hunter, a former therapist specializing in family

violence cases with the Atlanta Police Department, said she is

pushing for state lawmakers to make probation for misdemeanor

family violence cases three years instead of the current one

year.

Hunter told the audience that 95 percent of all family

viohlence victims are women and children and the majority of

people in prison for all crimes have come from abusive homes. …

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