City expands domestic violence prevention efforts with new grant

The City of Minneapolis is expanding its domestic violence prevention efforts thanks to a grant from the State of Minnesota Office of Justice Programs. 

The Violence Against Women Act STOP grant will allow the Minneapolis Police Department, City Attorney’s Office and the City’s domestic advocacy partners to develop an “on-call” domestic violence response team that will be able to provide a more immediate response by investigators and advocates to crimes when they happen. This team, which includes domestic violence investigators in the Minneapolis Police Department and an advocate from the Domestic Abuse Project, Casa de Esperanza or Asian Women United, will be able to vary their work schedules to include evenings and weekends.

The grant will also allow the City and its partners to continue the “Domestic Abuse No Contact Order Knock & Talk Program.” This pilot program, launched in 2010, allows police officers and advocates to perform “knock and talks” to check on victims’ well-being and to check on whether offenders are complying with Domestic Abuse No Contact Orders. Courts frequently issue Domestic Abuse No Contact Orders as part of the criminal case, but without additional resources, it is difficult to follow up to see if offenders are violating the orders.

Minneapolis has sought to aggressively prosecute domestic violence cases with an evidence-based prosecution model, and through collaboration with partner agencies. Since 2003, the City has been able to increase its conviction rate from 47.5 percent in 2003 to 72 percent in 2012.

The increase in domestic violence conviction rates and improved responses to incidents are due in significant part to the “Minneapolis Model” – a collaborative effort between the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Domestic Abuse Project, Casa de Esperanza and Asian Women United of Minnesota that launched in 2008. The Minneapolis Model includes a new investigative protocol by the City Attorney’s Office and the Police Department to gather more and better evidence when officers are responding to domestic violence calls. With the assistance of grant funds, the City has also developed a domestic abuse repeat offender initiative, with a pilot program at Little Earth of United Tribes, and provided additional police enforcement of Domestic Abuse No Contact Orders, which have also improved the City’s response to domestic violence.

Published Mar. 8, 2013