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Sheriff’s Office Receives Funding for Domestic Violence Coordinators

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 16, 2022

 

CONTACT: Courtney O’Keefe, Director of Communications, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office
 Courtney.O’Keefe@snoco.org, 425-388-3865, Media line: 425-249-6263

 

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. –  On Thursday, November 9, the Snohomish County Council unanimously voted to approve the Sheriff’s Office request to fund Domestic Violence Coordinators. In 2021, the Sheriff’s Office responded to 2,946 calls for domestic violence. In the 2023 budget request, the Sheriff’s Office requested funding for Domestic Violence Coordinators, which will allow for the Sheriff’s Office to contract with highly trained individuals who specialize in working with victims of domestic violence and understand the complexities of domestic violence as it relates to the victims, the abuser, law enforcement, prosecution and the judicial system. 

 

In 2021, House Bill 1320 was signed into law, which stated in part, “domestic violence is a problem of immense proportions. About 15% of Washington adults report experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime, and women, low-income people, and Black and Indigenous communities experience higher rates of domestic violence.  When domestic violence victims seek to separate from their abuser, they face increased risk.  Forty-five percent of domestic violence homicides occur within 90 days of recent separation, while 75% occur within the first six months of separation. Domestic violence has long been recognized as being at the core of other major social problems: child abuse, other crimes of violence against persons or property, homelessness, and alcohol and drug abuse.  Research has identified that adverse childhood experiences such as exposure to domestic violence have long-term negative impacts on health, well-being, and life outcomes, including criminal legal system involvement.”

 

Most instances of domestic violence involve children in the home who are five years of age or younger. There is strong evidence to support that domestic violence is intergenerational, even for children who merely witness violence; and without intervention, the cycle of violence is likely to perpetuate itself for children when they reach adulthood. 

 

The Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Coordinators will, in part: 

  • support, educate and assist victims of domestic violence through the criminal justice proceedings; 
  • provide victims with information on obtaining civil protection/no contact orders; 
  • assist victims in completing the forms and documents required to obtain various protection/no contact orders; 
  • assess domestic violence victims’ immediate needs (safe housing, income and other necessities); 
  • help victims establish an immediate safety plan; 
  • provide information and referrals to community resources specifically for victims of domestic violence; 
  • provide victims with information regarding criminal justice proceedings and procedures, appear with victims at arraignments and all other court hearings (both criminal and civil); 
  • educate victims about the benefits of pursuing prosecution through the legal system.

 

“Throughout my career I have seen many tragic domestic violence incidents,” said Sheriff Adam Fortney. “It is very important to me that we do everything we can to safeguard the wellbeing of domestic violence victims and provide them the resources they need. Adding Domestic Violence Coordinators to our team of public safety professionals will help ensure DV victims have access to social services and the necessary tools they need to navigate the criminal justice system to protect themselves and their children.”

 

“During the pandemic, staying home was not a safe option for everyone,” said Council Chair Megan Dunn. “While leading conference calls with local human services providers these past three years, including domestic violence advocacy organizations, I heard firsthand how difficult the pandemic was for people in a DV situation. I was glad to approve funding for these positions so DV survivors can have reliable and responsive resources.”

 

“Along with Councilmember Nehring, I added this amendment for the council to consider because it’s imperative we have these resources available for the families that need them,” said Council Member Sam Low. “I am pleased the council as a whole supports this program and joins me in recognizing this need.”

 

“The trauma from domestic violence is a huge burden,” said Council Member Nate Nehring. “Trying to navigate counseling, the criminal justice system, and bureaucracy is very difficult for domestic violence victims. The new navigators will help these victims through support, education, and referrals to the services they need.”

 

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