OCTOBER 1, 1990
OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY
MARION COUNTY, INDIANA
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTOCOL
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office has a
domestic violence unit for the prosecution of all misdemeanors and certain
Class D felonies involving domestic violence.
The unit consists of two full-time deputy prosecutors, three part-time deputy
prosecutors, two paralegal/investigators, victim advocates, victim assistance
volunteers, and a diversion coordinator and her assistant. This unit was
created in recognition of the fact that domestic violence is criminal conduct
and that prosecutors have the same responsibility to respond to these cases
as they do to other violent crimes.
Victims often turn to the criminal justice system for help as a last resort,
but it can be an effective means of stopping violence between family members.
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office has a strong interest in ending family
abuse, since it can escalate in severity and frequency and often leads to
The successful prosecution of domestic violence, as with any crime where
the victim is related to the offender, requires specialized techniques designed
to overcome the victim's fear of the criminal justice system and to encourage
cooperation with the prosecution effort.
"Domestic violence" includes any harmful
physical contact, along with property damage offenses, threats, and violations
of certain court orders, that occurs between current or former spouses,
cohabitants, boyfriends or girlfriends, adult family members, separated
or divorced couples, and other individuals who relationship, including homosexual
couples. The Unit also prosecutes cases involving violence perpetrated by
parents or by parents' lovers/intimates upon children of one of the adults,
and violence perpetrated upon parents by adult (over age 18) children. The
close relationships involved in these cases present special difficulties
that are unique to the criminal justice system.
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office Domestic Violence Unit treats these
cases as crimes against the States and prosecutes them to the fullest extent
in order to avoid a continuation and escalation of the violence.
The statutes most often encountered by those working
is this area are summarized below.
Filing cases/dismissing charges
It is the policy of the Marion
County Prosecutor's Office to file charges in cases of domestic violence
if the evidence presented satisfies the elements of a crime. Requests by
the victim to not file charges are not appropriate considerations for filing
cases. The decision to file and prosecute a criminal case is the responsibility
of the prosecutor, not of a victim. In fact, the available data show that
victims are actually safer from repeat violence if they call the police
after an incident, and safer still if they participate in the filing of
criminal charges. Victims do not have the authority, the legal knowledge,
or the ethical responsibility to make a filing decision; only a deputy prosecutor
can decide whether to file charges. Whenever a case is initiated by a citizen
complaint intake instead of an outright arrest made by a law enforcement
officer at the scene, the deputy prosecutor who screens the case shall request
a warrant for the defendant's arrest unless the victim has a reason to believe
she would be safer if a summons was issued. If the facts constitute an immediate
threat to a victim's safety, the intake paralegal shall walk a warrant through
Municipal Court 16, the domestic violence court.
For all cases entering into the system as police arrests made at the scene
of a domestic disturbance, dismissal of charges based on victim non-cooperation
is not an acceptable practice unless substantial, convincing evidence is
presented creating some doubt as to validity of the charges. For those cases
which enter into the system as citizen complaints intakes, the cases to
"drop charges"--but that they should do everything possible to
try and discourage the victims from actually dropping. Therefore, the following
policy is adopted: for citizen complaint intake cases which meet the standards
outlined below, staff will inform victims that, while the office normally
has a no-drop policy, an exception may be made in her case, and that if
she should wish to drop at some point, she should contact either her victim
advocate, prosecutor, or paralegal. Victims will not be allowed to drop
if the defendant: has previously been convicted of felonious violence or
abuse (including attempts of these crimes), such as homicide, robbery, rape,
child molest, burglary resulting in injury, arson, criminal recklessness,
battery, confinement, kidnapping, etc.; has previously been convicted or
had a warning letter sent or has a pending case for an act of violence against
the same victim as in the new case; is on probation and is subject to violation
for a news offense; or, be arrested immediately and prosecuted to the maximum
extent. No case will be dismissed until the defendant has had his or her
initial hearing, with the processing.
Once a victim informs someone that she wishes to drop charges, a victim
advocate will e assigned automatically, and that advocate shall be responsible
for informing the victim of the fact that she will endure a 41% likelihood
of repeat violence (vs. 7% if she does not drop) if she goes ahead and drops
charges; the advocate will also suggest to the victim that she view a videotape
(selected by the advocate and shown at the Prosecutor's Office) about domestic
violence, and attend at least one support group meeting at the Prosecutor's
Office, before she signs the drop form. Finally, if the victim still perseveres
in her desire to drop charges she will have to sign the drop form, which
will then be presented in court at the case's next court date; at that point,
the judge will take the case under advisement for 90 days. If there has
been no violence in the 90 day period, and if the victim still wishes to
drop, then and only then will the State file a motion to dismiss the charges.
The charges will be subject to refiling during the statute of limitation
for the incident in question.
This policy recognizes that we, as workers in the criminal justice system,
cannot presume to know what is best for a particular victim. The policy
is not meant to be coercive in nature; we must assume that individual victims
ultimately know what is best for them in their own situations. A victim
advocate or victim assistance volunteer will always be available to consult
with reluctant victims to address their fears and concerns regarding prosecution.
Because of the relationship between domestic violence offenders and their
victims, the prosecution must give special consideration to the very real
likelihood of witness intimidation on the part of the defendant. Early and
consistent contact with the victim, with referrals to appropriate social
service agencies, is crucial to protect both the State's case and the victim
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT
The court into which all misdemeanor
and most class D felony cases involving family violence are slated is Municipal
Courts have the authority to order defendants
to have no-contact (whether in person, in writing, over the telephone, or
through a third party) with State's witnesses as conditions of pre-trial
release, diversion, and probation. These orders should be in writing on
the appropriate form, and the victims or witnesses must be given a certificate
copy of these orders. If State's witnesses allege a violation of the no-contact
order, the relevant information needs to be presented in the form of 3 citizen's
affidavit for probable cause prepared by the witness(es) or the paralegal/investigator.
The deputy 4 prosecutor will then petition the court for a hearing on the
defendant's bond, as well as a review for prosecution under the Invasion
of Privacy statue (above). The witnesses involved should be subpoenaed to
testify at the hearing on the defendant's bond. If the defendant is on probation
at the time of the alleged violation, the witness should be directed to
contact the defendant's probation officer, and should also be referred to
the citizen complaint desk for possible criminal charges.
VICTIM/WITNESS FAILURES TO APPEAR
If a case has been set
for a pre-trial conference and the victim has been subpoenaed (i.e. a copy
of the handwritten subpoena is in the file) or otherwise notified of the
hearing conversation with the victim informing her or him of the setting'
or, the victim was present at the initial hearing or pre-trial conference
when the pre-trial conference date was set), the prosecutor should request
a brief recess to attempt to reach the victim by telephone. If that does
not work, the State should proceed with the pre-trial conference (if possible)
or request a short continuance.
If a case is set for trial and the victim has had notice (in the forms mentioned
above), and if it is the first trial setting, the prosecutor should again
make every attempt possible to contact the victim by telephone and get her
or him to court. The prosecutor should also ask the court to determine whether
the victim should be found in contempt of court for disobeying his or her
subpoena (or direct court order to appear, if applicable). The paralegal
will then notify the victim of the status of the case and recommend that
he or she surrender to the court as soon as possible. The prosecutor should
also ask the judge to question the defendant about the victim's whereabouts.
If all else fails, the prosecutor should request one continuance to attempt
to locate the victim. If the request for a continuance is denied, the prosecutor
should dismiss the case with a "nollo 3" designation. If a civilian
witness fails to appear, and if the prosecutor determines that the witness
is a material one, the prosecutor should follow the same procedures as for
victims who fail to appear. If the civilian witness is not really necessary,
the prosecutor should proceed with the case. If the witness is a law enforcement
officer, the paralegal will contact the officer's commander to determine
his or her whereabouts and availability for court. Of course, the deputy
prosecutor in court may also elect to proceed on a case involving a police
arrest for battery if the victim does not appear for court; this is a strategic
Given the volatile nature of domestic violence,
the close proximity of the victim to the defendant, and the likelihood that
recurring violence will result in serious injury or death, only those domestic
defendants described below should be eligible for diversion. In other domestic
violence misdemeanor cases, it is deemed more appropriate to proceed formally,
with full prosecution. Thereby, counseling as a condition of probation will
be available as an option for appropriate convicted defendants. In other
words, diversion should only be sued by a deputy prosecutor as a "last
The intent of the diversion program is to deal with the offender's problem,
and hopefully to modify his or her behavior. This goal is accomplished by
referring defendants to group counseling with programs approved by the diversion
coordinator. The diversion coordinator shall be the liaison between the
Marion County Prosecutor's Office and the various social service agencies
within the community offering treatment/education programs for both victims
and offenders, on informal, diversionary, and probationary levels.
The statutory authority for the diversion program can be found at Indiana
Domestic violence includes any harmful physical contact (or property damage)
that occurs between current or former spouses, cohabitants, boyfriends or
girlfriends, and adult family members; see the "Definition"
section of this protocol for a more detailed definition. These categories
apply whether the parties are of the opposite or same sex.
The prosecutors, where possible, shall review all domestic violence cases
to determine the eligibility of defendants for diversion; the assistant
to the diversion coordinator shall determine the appropriate agency to which
the individual is referred. Deputy prosecutors shall have the discretion
to offer diversion to defendants who meet the eligibility requirements outlined
below. Intake officers may make written recommendations regarding an offender's
suitability for diversion in the "comments to screener" section
of the "checklist for interview" sheet included in each citizen
Once a defendant has been determined to be eligible to participate in the
diversion program, that fact should be noted (in writing) in the case file.
The deputy prosecutor in court, the defendant, and the defense attorney
(if the defendant has counsel) shall complete and execute a form entitled
"agreement to withhold prosecution" in triplicate.
The deputy prosecutor shall keep one copy (the pink copy) of the sheet and
forward it to the paralegal (who will then forward it to the diversion coordinator's
assistant) after 7 making appropriate notations in the case file. The defendant
is to receive one copy (the yellow copy) for its file.The court must have
the third copy (the white copy) for its file. The State and the defense
can agree on extra conditions (and note them on the sheet); e.g., a no-contact
order (in that case, the victim and/or relevant witnesses should be given
a certified copy of the order). The prosecutor shall also give the defendant
an instruction sheet. The case must be continued for six months in order
to monitor the defendant's compliance with the conditions of the agreement;
however, the court will first set an initial, 60-day compliance date to
ensure that the defendant has enrolled in a program. The defendant must
be instructed to contact the diversion coordinator's assistant (listed on
the accompanying instruction sheet) as soon as possible after the date of
the condition of a diversion agreement.
The domestic violence paralegal shall contact the victim and refer her or
him to support counseling and arrange for follow-up contact. If there is
any new violence or non-compliance by the defendant reported by the victim,
the domestic violence paralegal will then forward the information to the
appropriate deputy prosecutor.
A. Cost: there is a one-time $75.00 diversion fee (a $50.00
diversion fee and a $25.00 user fee) for all defendants accepted into the
program, plus the costs of counseling. However, the fee (for diversion and
for the actual classes) is a flat $150.00 for defendants who participate
in the 6-week program, which is ONLY to be used in cases in which the victim
and the defendant do not have an ongoing relationship, have no children
together, and other exceptional cases, to be determined by the individual
prosecutor in court. The 26-week groups offered by the counseling agencies
charge defendants on a sliding fee scale, based on income. Indigent defendants
are accepted by all agencies with verified proof of indigency (or a court
determination of same).
B. Successful completion: includes completion of all designated
conditions on the diversion form. Please note item number 4 of the agreement:
the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is two years. However, if the
defendant has successfully completed all of the other conditions of the
agreement within the six-month period, the case can be dismissed if the
victim has no reasonable objection. Successful completion should be based
on an evaluation of a therapist and on information form the victim, and
the defendant. The State shall dismiss the charge(s) with a "nollo
5 - defendant completed diversion" notation.
C. Procedure for non-compliance: when anyone receives information
that a defendant has failed to comply with any of the conditions of the
diversion agreement, the case file (completes with all information on which
the determination of non-compliance was based) shall be forwarded to the
appropriate deputy prosecutor. In most cases, that person will be either
the deputy prosecutor whose signature appears on the State's copy of the
diversion form, or the deputy prosecutor/administrator. The deputy prosecutor
shall then file a "petition to set aside diversion agreement based
on non-compliance and praecipe for trial setting". The paralegal for
the court in which the agreement was filed shall obtain the date of the
trial setting and ensure that the witnesses are property subpoenaed.
AGENCIES PROVIDING SERVICES TO OFFENDERS
Office makes referrals to the following agencies for batterers' groups.
General Ethical Standards
The first priority is the safety
of victims. To accomplish that goal, service providers should have minimum
of two years of experience in the area of domestic violence; or, service
providers should meet the standards outlined by professional groups such
as the I.U. School of Social Work for family counseling organizations. Group
treatment is the treatment of choice for these offenders, with a minimum
of sixteen weeks of group counseling and/or five weeks of educational/group
counseling. If service providers feel that an individual needs additional
counseling, the providers should submit a written recommendation to the
court. Also, service providers themselves must be violence-free. Finally,
service providers should be wiling to maintain open channels of communication
with victims, support groups in which the victims are participating, law
enforcement agencies, and other social service providers in the domestic
Agencies shall not accept female clients into batterers' groups; if female
clients are referred to the agencies, the agencies should contact the referring
agency to learn what type of counseling the referral source envisioned for
the client. No woman shall be in a batterers' group; if necessary, the service
providers will provide individual counseling for the woman.
II. Programmatic Requirements
All service providers must
have a written statement regarding the rights and responsibilities of the
client/batterer. Service providers must have a written individual contract
with each client specifying: the details of treatment plans, confidentiality
rules, the fee agreement, special conditions such as alcohol treatment,
a safety plan, guidelines for termination, disclosures which may be sought
from victims, and that the contract is not to be violated by either party.
Service providers handling court referrals should be prepared to provide
monthly progress reports to the referring agency. For example, if the Probation
Department of the Municipal Court System refers a client/defendant to a
service provider for counseling as a condition of probation, the service
provider should provide monthly progress reports to that individuals probation
officer. Service providers must report a client/defendant's failure to make
an initial contact or absences to the referring agency on an alert form.
Alert forms should be used when: treatment is not progressing well; or,
the victim has reported threats of violence, verbal or emotional abuse,
or use of weapons on the part of the client. Alerts should be sent to both
the referring agency and the client/defendant. The service provider should
contact the client/defendant regarding missed appointments. Service providers
may contact victims on a routine basis to verify safety. In order to promote
research in the area of domestic violence, service providers should collect
and maintain client/defendant data through a uniform data collection system.
In the event that a client/defendant does not comply with the contract,
the social service provider should report the non-compliance in the form
of an alert notice accompanied by a detailed letter in the event of unsuccessful
termination. For example, a social service provider should report the non-compliance
after a client/defendant has had three unexcused absences, or after a client/defendant
has failed to cooperate with treatment according to that provider's own
policy. The service provider should always send a written notification of
the noncompliance report to the client/defendant.
All fee arrangements should be stated in the client/defendant contact. Further,
the contract should specify whether the provider will accept third-party
payments. If a client/defendant fails to pay the agency fee, the service
provider should report that to the referring agency before the client/defendant's
final court appearance and include documentation showing that the client/defendant
was advised of his or her failure to pay the fee. If the service provider
has made any type of fee payment agreement with the client/defendant, that
arrangement should be specified in the final report provided to the court.
The contract should also specify the length of the contract--for example,
a minimum of sixteen weeks with a screening session for group counseling,
or a minimum of five weeks for education/group counseling.
When a service provider is conducting intake screening and the client/defendant
is refused admission, there must be written documentation of the specifics.
Every provider should have an evaluation system which specifies the process
for determining eligibility. If, after evaluation, a service provider should
document the reasons in writing.
All service providers must include education around the following
The service provider should state clearly, in writing, that provocation
is a choice made by the client/defendant and that it does not exist as a
rationale for violence. The service provider should also state unequivocally
that each individual is responsible for his or her own behavior.
Cycle of Violence
All service providers should provide education to clients/defendants about
the cycle of violence, and should educate clients/defendants about the three
phases in order to help offenders recognize the cycle. Further, "time
out" should be taught as a tool to stop the violence with an explanation
of how and why it is to be used. Finally, all service providers must educate
clients/defendants around the issues of power, sexism, racism, and ageism.
All service providers should discuss alcohol/drug abuse as it relates to
domestic violence. Further, if a service provider does not regularly provide
alcohol/drug education, the service provider should always make referrals
to appropriate agencies.
Service providers agree that group counseling is the preferable type of
treatment. Service providers will only provide individual counseling to
clients/defendants when they have also referred those individuals to an
educational group on domestic violence.
If an agency must refer a defendant to another agency, the provider should
include a written form signed by the client stating that he or she was informed
of the referral and the season for it. Service providers should be prepared
to monitor client/defendants' participation in secondary referral groups;
for example, if clients are referred to A.A. in addition to their batterers'
groups, the batterers' groups should monitor the clients' participation
in the A.A. groups.
If a client/defendant is an alcoholic, he or she may be terminated from
the group if he or she attends the group while under the influence of alcohol.
The service provider should also refer the client/defendant to an alcohol
treatment program for an assessment and notify the Prosecutor's Office or
the Probation Department in writing. The service provider may monitor the
client's participation in the alcohol counseling, or it may ask that the
Prosecutor's Office or Probation Department monitor the participation. Unless
a defendant has to go to inpatient treatment, all defendants should participate
in their alcohol treatment at the same time they are going to the batterers
III. Role of Prosecutor's Office as it Relates to Service Providers
The Prosecutor's Office will provide service providers with all
pertinent information regarding client/defendants' involvement with the
criminal justice system. The Office will 12 act as a liaison between the
court and the service providers for the purpose of reporting defendants'
participation in batterers' groups. Further, the Office will advises service
providers of new arrests and dispositions of those new cases. The Prosecutor's
Office will furnish information concerning victims to the service providers
for purpose of validating information given to the service providers by
defendants; yet, at no time will defendants be given information about the
IV. Discharge Criteria
Defendants are eligible for an administrative
discharge if they: move out of state, die, are convicted of a new offense,
or if felony charges are filed against them. If a defendant moves out of
the state, the service provider should refer that individual back to the
court for a final disposition.
Service providers should terminate a defendant from a group with a successful
completion notation if a defendant has: completed the counseling; accepted
responsibility for the violence; remained violence-free; cooperated openly
and worked on his or her personal problems; displayed an understanding of
"timeout" and power and control issues' and, has displayed a knowledge
of agencies that provide services for batterers. service providers shall
give defendants who successfully complete their programs a certificate to
bring to court.
Defendants should be discharged by service providers with an "unsuccessful"
notation if they have: been abusing alcohol or drugs and that abuse has
been interfering with their treatment; made threats of violence which have
escalated, and/or threatened victims or themselves with a weapon; failed
to pay fees to the service providers and/or the legal system' failed to
abide by their contract (e.g. poor attendance, nonparticipation, and nonpayment
of fees); and/or convicted of a new offense.
CASE DISPOSITION GUIDELINES
When possible, a guilty plea
to the most specific charge is preferable rather than to a lesser "charge
which may not adequately represent the nature of the offense. Always allow
victims to address the court with their own sentencing recommendations,
regardless of the State's recommendation or the plea agreement. Request
court-mandated participation in a counseling program for batterers as a
condition of probation, and, if appropriate, an evaluation for drug or alcohol
abuse and treatment as indicated. Request a no-contact order and restitution
as conditions of probation where appropriate. Always request that the defendant
be ordered to have no firearms in his or her possession or household while
he or she is on probation as a condition of probation. Restitution is appropriate
for any financial losses suffered as a result of the crime (such as 13 medical
costs, housing, transportation, counseling, and repair or replacement of
personal property). Community service work (in increments of 8 hours with
a minimum of 24 hours) may be recommended in those cases not involving serious
injury. Three-day weeks or week-ends at jail or at a community corrections
facility may be recommended in those cases not involving serious injury.
An appropriate period of actual jail time should be recommended in cases
involving moderate or severe injuries, for defendants who have prior convictions
for similar offenses, or when defendants have made death threats.
The Municipal Court Probation Department has established
a unit responsible for all cases which involve domestic violence and anger
control counseling as a condition of probation. The unit utilizes agencies
within the community to provide the counseling services each case requires.
Referrals are made on an individual basis, taking into consideration the
defendant's record, the victim, the nature of the offense, the proximity
to a counseling facility, and any other unique circumstances which may be
present. In addition to referring defendants for counseling, the probation
officer monitors the defendant's compliance with the conditions of probation,
files violation of probation notices with the court, and testifies at court
The probation officer will file a notice of a violation of probation whenever
a victim reports the violation of a no-contact order on a probation case.
The victim must be willing to report the specific details of the incident
to the probation officer as well as to provide testimony and/or evidence
of the violation at the hearing. The victim will be subpoenaed for the violation
at probation hearing. Any questions or concerns regarding a probation case
should be referred to the Municipal Court of Marion County Probation Department
at (317) 236-4252.
There is a procedure for the exchange of information
between the Marion County Prosecutor's Office Child Support Division regarding
defendants' names and addresses, in order to locate those defendants who
are also delinquent in child support obligations. The slates of cases involving
domestic violence are sent to the Child Support Division on a weekly basis,
two weeks in advance. The Child Support Division Locate staff reviews the
slates immediately, ascertains whether there are child support cases on
the slate, and contacts the victim advocates to inform them of the case
names and whether the Child Support Division is requesting that the sheriff
arrest the defendant (if there is an open warrant) or serve papers. The
Child Support Division staff and the victim advocates will also exchange
victims' and 14 defendants' address information. The Child Support Division
paralegal will then follow the normal procedures of having the Civil sheriff
serve or arrest the defendant/respondent at he scheduled court hearing.
Should the procedure break down (e.g., the civil sheriff does not appear
at the hearing), the Domestic Violence Unit paralegal will contact the Child
Support Division paralegal, who will follow up with the civil sheriff.
SERVICES FOR VICTIMS
In addition to the traditional services
available to the victims of domestic violence (counseling, emergency shelter,
etc.) the Marion County Prosecutor's Office Domestic Violence Unit has also
negotiated several other important services, which are summarized below:
1. The city of Indianapolis Housing Authority and the local office of the
Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development have agreed to put battered
women at the top of waiting lists for public housing residences when vacancies
occur, as well as to provide emergency certificates for Section 8 housing
to battered women referred from the shelters or from the Marion County Prosecutor's
Office Domestic Violence Unit.
2. The two local shelters for battered women and their children will supply
a designated victim advocates from the Marion County Prosecutor's Office
domestic violence unit with monthly notification of victims in the shelters
who have filed criminal charges, as well as written guidelines, policies,
and procedures of the facilities and their support groups to aid in appropriate
referrals. In turn, a victim advocate will visit the shelters monthly to
discuss procedures for filing charges and to inform victims about how offenders
are monitored in counseling programs.
3. The Marion County Department of Public Welfare has agreed to accept
non-shelter referrals from the Marion County Prosecutor's Office Domestic
Violence Unit, and to refer eligible victims to a special unit (funded by
Title xx) to ensure more individualized services to those women.
4. The local municipal public transportation company ("Metro"
buses) provides the Marion County Prosecutor's Office Domestic Violence
Unit with tokens for use by victims of domestic violence for their court-related
transportation needs. Additionally, a private cab company (Metro Taxi, Inc.)
has contracted with the Marion County Prosecutor's Office to allow for victims
to obtain court-related transportation using vouchers.
Whenever a case arises involving a victim
under the age of eighteen (18) who is not emancipated, the following procedures
must be implemented:
1. A paralegal should immediately make a file, and make sure that a victim
advocate is assigned to the victim. The advocate will then follow up with
intensive pre-court services, offering them to both the victim and his or
her custodial parent or guardian, if practical.
2. If a juvenile victim misses a court appearance to which he or she has
been subpoenaed, the deputy prosecutor in court should follow the procedures
outlined above under the "Victim/Witness Failure to Appear" section.
AND also ask the judge to order the juvenile victim's parent or guardian
to produce the juvenile within 72 hours or face contempt proceedings. NOTE
that the subpoenas must be directed to the juvenile in care of the parent
VICTIM ADVOCATE AND VOLUNTEERS
Victim advocates and victim
assistance volunteers are arguably the most important component of the criminal
justice system's response to family violence. Regardless of the final disposition
of the case, the advocates and volunteers, through consistent, supportive
contact, have the opportunity to empower victims and help them find the
resources necessary to live lives which are free of violence.
The training materials for victim
advocates shall include a reading list, definitions, and literature concerning
the cycle of violence, the battered woman syndrome, etc. The training materials
shall be in the form of a packet, and will include a list encompassing the
various training processes (outlines herein); the advocate will place her
or his initials next to each item on the list as she or he completes the
item, and then the supervisor for the victim advocates shall review the
list with the advocates at each peer group meeting. Training will also include
role-playing, for the advocates to simulate certain experiences over the
phone, in person, and in court. No new advocate will conduct victim/witness
interviews unless she or he is supervised by a more experienced (i.e., one
who has completed the training regimen) advocate or the supervisor. Victim
advocates will also be required to take a tour of Sojourner and the Salvation
Army's shelter; they are also required to visit a support group for battered
women sponsored either by Breaking Free or the Salvation Army. Further,
advocates must ride a 16 Advocates will also be familiar with the questions
to ask each victim with which they have contact, the subjects to cover and
the information they must obtain from each victim (for example, if a victim
is opting to stay in a relationship with the batterer, the advocate shall
always ask if the victim has a safety plan -- and discuss the same with
the children, if they are present -- for what to do the next time there
is a violent incident). Advocates will learn about safety plans and their
importance, and also about why it is important to share printed materials
with victims regarding the cycle of violence, power and control issues,
the battered woman syndrome, etc.. Advocates will also learn about the importance
of identification (the "Victim Advocate" pin) and proper courtroom
attire and conduct. Advocates are also expected to properly document victim
contacts in the files, and to understand why that is important. Advocates
will also learn about the purpose of every different court event, and why
it is important to encourage victims to attend some of the court events.
Advocates will also know how to get victim's input regarding sentencing
(or other disposition of the case), and how to read a criminal history.
Advocates will learn their duties during a court session.
All volunteers, regardless of the tasks to which they are assigned, must
receive the following basic training. The volunteers will receive the same
packet of information which the advocates receive, for training purposes,
and their training, like the advocates', will include role-playing about
in-person and telephone contacts. The volunteers' contact with victims will
be limited unless they have been supervised by an experienced victim advocate.
Volunteers will also be required to learn the JUSTICE system, and will use
it if it is available to them.
It is also mandatory that volunteers sit in and observe at least one citizen
complaint intake, and that they familiarize themselves with samples of citizen
complaint intake and police arrest files. Further, volunteers will also
be addressed by someone from the Child Support Division in order to learn
about the paternity establishment and support enforcement processes; and,
a deputy prosecutor will address the volunteers in order to give them an
orientation about the criminal justice system and how the office (and the
Unit) works. Volunteers are also expected to learn how to use the "Rainbow
Book" in order to make referrals to other agencies, and to learn about
the different social services available to victims of domestic violence.
Of (Please note we are missing page 17) the entire court session
which they are covering (they can bring other work to do in the "down
time"); they may leave court if approved by the deputy prosecutor covering
the session. Advocates must make contact with every victim of domestic violence
for which charges have been filed. Further, advocates are expected to be
available to aid women who are seeking protective orders, to provide help
for them about domestic violence resources available in the community, to
provide support in the courtroom, to direct them to the informational videotape
about the protective order process, and other services as needed. Advocates
are also expected to work with the "contact persons" at the local
emergency rooms, shelters, and other social service agencies to which victims
of domestic violence and their children are referred.
While they are in court, advocates must perform the following functions:
interview victims and witnesses; secure victim/witness attendance (calling
absent victims and civilian witnesses and finding transportation if the
witnesses/victims have not arrived in court twenty minutes after the session
has been scheduled to being); provide support for victims/witnesses who
are frightened or confused; make referrals to appropriate agencies after
conducting a quick needs assessment for individual victims; developing safety
plans for those victims (and their children, if applicable) who are continuing
to reside with the batterers; arranging for shelter/transportation for those
victims who will need same; helping victims sort through their restitution
needs and documentation; being present during defense attorney interviews
of victims and civilian witnesses; helping victims understand the various
sentencing options and disposition available; obtaining victims' and witnesses'
recommendations for sentencing/dispositions for sentencing/disposition of
the cases; explaining the procedures concerning the options of diversion,
trials, jury trials, plea agreements, etc., as they are applicable to the
individual victim's case; and, reviewing the affidavits for probable cause
with those victims and civilian witnesses whose cases are going to trial
during that session.
When assigned referrals, advocates are to make careful, detailed notes in
the file which the prosecutor takes to court(as stated above, keeping a
separate advocate file is optional) regarding every form of victim contact
that is made in a particular case. Advocates are to follow up on their referrals
within 72 hours, and they should always include the "basics" when
they are making an initial contact with a victim: safety plans, referrals,
determination of safe shelter, options the victim has available to him or
her, explaining the cycle of violence and power and control issues, and
explaining the battered woman syndrome. Whenever possible, the advocate
should follow up the contact with written materials, such as handouts, that
can be mailed to the victims. Advocates should always obtain alternate addresses,
telephone numbers, and names of contact people to (Please note we are missing
page 19) 20 locate the victims; advocates should always discuss the next
court date with a victim and get her recommendations and secure transportation,
if needed, since so many victims have questions about the upcoming court
appearance (everything from bringing children to whether the batterer will
go to jail).
Advocates must also organize monthly support groups for victims who are
currently using the criminal justice system, and secure a facilitator for
those meetings. Further, advocates must organize quarterly "focus group"
meetings for victims whose contact with the criminal justice system has
ended, in order to learn the victims' reactions to the experience and suggestions
for improving the Unit's responsiveness to the problem of domestic violence.
Advocates will contact these "alumnae" by letter, and again will
secure a facilitator to actually run the meeting while an advocate records
(takes notes) the suggestions, impressions, etc.. Advocates are also expected
to work with the Indianapolis Police Department Victim Assistance Unit and
the Marion County Sheriff's Department Victim Assistance Unit to review
all law enforcement reports concerning domestic violence, to locate victims
who have not appeared in court, etc.. Advocates are assigned to every case
that is set for trial by jury in Court
Advocates must attend domestic violence unit meetings as they are held (usually
monthly, unless more frequent meetings are warranted), as well as peer group
meetings, which are help bi-weekly unless they are needed more often.
Duties of Volunteers
Volunteers must make all of their concerning victim contacts in the file
which the deputy prosecutors take to court; further, they must make the
calls to victims and witnesses regarding upcoming court appearances from
the files, not the JUSTICE subpoena sheets, and make notes concerning those
contacts in the files, not on the subpoena sheets. Volunteers are expected
to help make contact with every victim of domestic violence who has a case
currently pending in the system.
Volunteers may attend the peer group and
domestic violence unit meetings if those meetings are scheduled during their