AG Gives Domestic Violence Investigators Statewide Power

June 12, 2006

At a swearing-in ceremony today in Augusta, Attorney General Steve Rowe granted statewide jurisdiction to 12 domestic violence investigators from four district attorneys' offices, four sheriffs' offices, and three police departments. Rowe called the extension of jurisdiction for the investigators "another tool for you to use against the insidious problem of domestic violence in Maine." Rowe used the recently-issued report of the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel to highlight the destructiveness of domestic violence and the importance of the investigators' work. "Every 97 minutes, someone in Maine is the victim of a domestic assault. More than half of the homicides in Maine are cases of domestic violence. These cases are so explosive that your supervisors and I have agreed to expand your geographic reach so that your investigations will not have to stop at town or county lines. There are real social, cultural, and economic barriers to rooting out domestic violence, so it seems wise to remove all the artificial barriers we can," said Rowe.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, a homicide prosecutor who also chairs the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel, thanked the investigators for their work and said, "This year's report is entitled €˜It's Everybody's Business' because domestic violence is a societal issue that requires a coordinated community response. By familiarizing ourselves with potential warning signs of domestic violence and educating ourselves on the resources available, we increase our society's ability to help victims. The duty to learn more and do more extends well beyond police and prosecutors, it extends to other government officials, family members, teachers, employers, co-workers, friends, neighbors -- everyone in the community can help." Marchese highlighted Appendix E of the report, which is called 'What You Can Do.' That section is reprinted below.

The Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel's report is available online at http://www.maine.gov/ag/index.php?r=crimeandvictims&s=domesticviolence&t=

The officers sworn in as domestic violence investigators today are:

Steve Edmondson
Office of the District Attorney
Bath

Robert Hinkel
Office of the District Attorney
Augusta

James Ross
Office of the District Attorney
Skowhegan

Paul Stewart
Office of the District Attorney
Waterville

Steve McFarland
Office of the District Attorney
Ellsworth

Scott Arno
Office of the District Attorney
Dover-Foxcroft

Jon C. Allen
Lincoln County Sheriff's Office
Wiscasset

Frank Gardner
Washington County Sheriff's Office
Machias

Hart Daley
Lewiston Police Department
Lewiston

John Preston
Pleasant Point Police Department
Perry

Jill Potvin
Cumberland County Sheriff's Office
Portland

Steven Thistlewood
York County Sheriff's Office
Alfred

What You Can Do

The following is an excerpt from MCEDV's website. For more information please visit them at mcedv.org.

Learn More

Contact your local domestic violence project for more information and material.

Educate yourself by attending conferences about domestic violence Speak Out About Domestic Violence and Abuse

Display information about your local domestic violence project and domestic abuse in your workplace, church, library or other community meeting places. If you see or hear a battering incident occurring, call 911 to involve law enforcement.

When you see or hear signs of domestic abuse, sexism, racism, homophobia or ageism, talk to the person exhibiting the behaviors, if it is safe for you to do so. If you hear a comment or observe a behavior that concerns you, say "I don't appreciate that".

Challenge the media. Write to music producers, movie companies Internet businesses, video game producers, and TV stations to speak out about violence against women.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper describing the problem of domestic violence in your community and offer suggestions for how people can become part of the solution.

Call or e-mail your local representatives. Encourage them to vote for domestic violence funding or special issues.

Tell Others About Domestic Violence Project's Services

Invite domestic violence prevention educators to speak to your school, church, community group or business.

Donate Money Or Items To Your Local Domestic Violence Project

Many domestic violence projects have wish lists. Contact your local project.

Contribute Services and Talents to Your Local Domestic Violence Project

Encourage your workplace to "adopt" the local domestic violence project by donating money and allowing employees time off to volunteer.

Victims/Survivors benefit from the donation of professional services such as haircuts.

Volunteer for your local domestic violence project.

Become a member of a local domestic abuse task force, domestic violence project board or steering committee.

Attend Events to Raise Awareness About Domestic Violence

Recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Attend an awareness event that has already been planned, or organize your own event.

Teach Children

Educate children about positive ways to resolve conflict and healthy relationships.

Reach Out To Someone You Are Concerned About

If you have a friend, family member, or co-worker whom you think may be experiencing domestic violence or abuse, approach that person in a non-judgmental way and let them know that you are concerned. Offer information about your local Domestic Violence Project. The most important thing is to listen, believe, and support a victim.

Seek Support For Yourself

If you become frightened or frustrated by someone else's situation, consider calling your local Domestic Violence Project yourself. Advocates are trained and prepared to speak to anyone concerned about their own situation, or the situation of another.

Be An Example

Make a commitment to the cause and let others know of your beliefs. Talk to your friends and neighbors when they belittle women or make a joke about violence.

Charles Dow, Director, Communications & Legislative Affairs, 207-626-8577