|The Domestic Violence Unit in the Wake County
District Attorneys Office consists of two assistant district attorneys and three
victim/witness assistants. This unit handles only cases which are both "violent"
and "domestic" acts; "domestic" includes acts that occur between
people who have previously had or currently share an intimate relationship with one
another. This group includes people who have a child in common, live together, are members
of the same sex, date, and/or present or former spouses. This unit has a "no-drop
policy," meaning that the State vigorously prosecutes these cases. The goals of the
unit are to prevent children from growing up in a violent home life and also to direct
defendants into necessary treatment and counseling programs and victims into necessary
support settings. The unit relies on a collaborative effort involving not only the
community, but also devoted agencies serving this population in order to achieve these
Members of the unit operate in a separate courtroom which calendars only misdemeanor domestic violence cases. The team works along with law enforcement agencies by assisting in the service of subpoenas, consulting about charges and repeat offenders, and providing training techniques. The Raleigh Police Department has designated three police officers to their domestic violence unit who regularly attend court and confer with the District Attorneys office. A representative from the local batterers program and a member from the local womens shelter are present in court daily to assist in the recommendation of the disposition of cases and more importantly, to offer in-court advocate services and referrals to the victims.
The domestic violence unit attempts to reach as many victims as possible prior to the scheduled court dates to offer guidance and support throughout the judicial process. Victims are informed about court dates, bond reviews, restraining orders, dispositions of cases, and their rights as victims during court proceedings. The unit is able to establish this vital contact ahead of the court date as a result of the timely receipt of domestic violence reports from law enforcement agencies.
The Domestic Violence Unit has grown since its inception, beginning to tackle felony cases, and remains dedicated to making Wake County a safer and less violent community in which to live pursuant to the domestic violence laws established in North Carolina legislation.