New way of handling domestic violence leads to increase in convictions
A collaborative effort between law enforcement, prosecutors, the courts, and community advocates has led to a significant increase in domestic violence convictions in Minneapolis. The new partnership and changes to how cases are handled has increased conviction rates by 50 percent since 2005.
At a roundtable discussion on Jan. 3, the “Minneapolis Model” of handling domestic abuse cases was discussed. The roundtable, which included City staff and advocacy group leaders, was hosted by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, in preparation for Congressional reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The act provides support and assistance to states and local communities to strengthen efforts aimed at ending domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence. Nationally, it is estimated that 25 percent of women experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime.
The Minneapolis Model is a coordinated response to domestic violence in Minneapolis involving law enforcement, prosecution, advocates, community corrections and a specialized domestic violence court for misdemeanor cases. The model is based on the principle that an effective law enforcement and prosecution response to misdemeanor domestic violence cases can prevent more serious offenses, protecting victims and their children.
The key elements of the Minneapolis Model include:
- Collaboration between law enforcement, advocacy community partners and prosecutors
- Dedicated domestic violence team in City Attorney’s Office and Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) misdemeanor domestic violence investigator;
- City prosecutor and advocate co-located in the MPD Family Violence Unit;
- Creation of specialty court for Minneapolis misdemeanor domestic violence cases in Hennepin County District Court and domestic violence probation officers
- Training for MPD officers and implementation of evidence gathering protocol
Results of the Minneapolis Model include:
- 50 percent increase in conviction rates since 2005 by City Attorney’s Office
- 70+ percent conviction rate last two years
- 13 percent reduction in 911 calls related to domestic violence
- Implemented new domestic violence investigation protocol for officers responding to domestic violence calls with improved evidence gathering and more positive interactions between officers and victims
- Creation of felony enhancement list resulting in over 800 cases charged as felonies instead of misdemeanors since 2004
- Creation of domestic violence repeat offender team and list with pilot and domestic violence court watch program at Little Earth Community of United Tribes
- Implemented “knock and talk” checks on domestic abuse no contact orders and in high risk gone-on-arrival cases
- Successfully advocated for changes in state law including expansion of time for arrest from 12 hours to 24 hours in domestic violence cases
Published Jan. 3, 2012