Accountability Court – Domestic Violence
Definition of Domestic Abuse
Oklahoma statute defines domestic abuse as “any act of physical harm, or the threat of imminent physical harm which is committed by an adult, emancipated minor, or minor child 13 years of age or older against another adult, emancipated minor or minor child who are family or household members or who are or were in a dating relationship.” Domestic violence involves a pattern of behavior as opposed to a single isolated incident. Perpetrators and victims are of every age, gender, race religion, ethnicity and social status.
About the Unit
In 2008, David Prater, the Oklahoma County District Attorney, assigned one Prosecutor to handle only domestic violence cases. An investigator and support staff were assigned to the Team and over the past several years, additional prosecutors have been added to address the overwhelming number of domestic violence cases being filed each year. Prosecution of domestic violence cases are challenging by nature due to fearful or resistant victims.
These victims are often ‘repeat victims’ who need assistance to break the cycle of abuse, and following through with prosecution is an important step. The Domestic Violence Prosecution Team goals are victim safety, offender accountability, and treatment of underlying issues such as but not limited to mental health and substance abuse problems that can be contributing factors in domestic violence The Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office prosecutes more domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault cases than any other in the state.
All Prosecutors work closely with local law enforcement to gather evidence, work with the victim to encourage participation in the judicial process, and educate victims, families and offenders on breaking the cycle of violence. The dedicated Domestic Violence Prosecution Team works closely with the Domestic Violence Victim Advocate to provide the extra attention victims need. Service referrals, safety planning, and aggressive prosecution of the abuser is implemented and the Domestic Violence Team strives for a ‘no dismissal’ policy through effective, timely and evidence based prosecution.