The Madison County Domestic Violence Accountability Court has been chosen to participate in a special project aimed at reducing intimate partner domestic violence by focusing on the most violent offenders.
Madison County is one of only three locations nationally that have been awarded this opportunity by the Office of Violence Against Women as part of that group’s Intimate Partner Violence Intervention project, 3rd Judicial Circuit Chief Judge David Hylla announced.
“This victim-centered strategy focuses on offender accountability through extensive monitoring by a team of law enforcement, victim advocates, and social service providers. The goal is to intervene early with effective deterrence while enhancing safety and support for victims. This framework is a continuation of the success of the DVAC court that we started in 2016,” Hylla said.
The Office of Violence Against Women in partnership with the National Network for Safe Communities, will oversee the program, providing crime data analysis, technical assistance, training, assessments, and peer support.
“Madison County has been a leader in trying to hold domestic violence abusers accountable and to intervene in the cycle of violence while protecting victims,” said Chief Criminal Judge Richard Tognarelli, who oversees the current Domestic Violence Accountability Court and is a co-chair of the 3rd Judicial Circuit Family Violence Prevention Council. “This partnership will allow us to set additional goals to identify and intervene in abuse as early as possible,” he emphasized.
Alton Police Chief Jake Simmons said reducing the number of domestic violence incidents is a top prioritiy.
“We hope to start a program during the project to conduct welfare checks and follow up with victims and suspects in these incidents, “ he said.
Sponsors said the program aims to make abusers accountable and to make them understand that violence will be addressed through parole violations or other legal means. Meanwhile, victims will be helped by advocates and providers to receive needed services and to be kept safe. The partnership working on this project will include members of the court, the probation department, the state’s attorney, local police and advocates.