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Department of Justice to Offer Training in Prosecuting Cases of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault


MADISON — On November 1, 2011, the Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor (VAWRP) program at the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) will host a day of training for more than 100 prosecutors from across the state.


The VAWRP is a full-time Assistant Attorney General who provides advice and technical assistance to prosecutors on domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking cases.


Tuesday's training will focus on how prosecutors can use expert witnesses in domestic violence and sexual assault jury trials to successfully introduce relevant forensic evidence from nurses, doctors and emergency room personnel. The session also will explore the use of experts to explain the different ways that victims react and the coping mechanisms survivors of violence employ after an extremely traumatic event.


"Victims of domestic or sexual violence often react in different and sometimes unexpected ways," AAG Audrey Skwierawski, the DOJ's VAWRP, said. "Some victims are angry. Some cry. But others might be completely withdrawn after the violence. Many victims do not immediately report the crime due to fear of reprisal or the physical effects of shock. Experts can explain these responses to juries to help them understand why a victim may act in a way that runs counter to their expectations in a given case.”


The day of training runs from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at the Osthoff Resort Conference Center in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.


The training is made possible by federal grant money made available through the Violence Against Women Act that the DOJ received through the State of Wisconsin's Office of Justice Assistance.


If you'd like to learn more about the VAWRP program or to schedule an interview with AAG Skwierawski, please contact Dana Brueck at 608-266-1221.