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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Comments on Events Surrounding Brookfield Homicides on Sunday, October 21, 2012 and Announces Domestic Violence Training

 

MADISON—Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has released the following statement on the events leading up to the tragic shooting that occurred on October 21, 2012:

 

In the wake of the recent mass shooting at the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield, our thoughts and prayers must first be with the victims and their loved ones and also with the brave law enforcement officers, first responders, and victim support professionals who responded to the scene on that day.

 

There are many questions about what things could have been done to avert this tragedy, and whether there were missed opportunities for intervention that might have worked to divert this abuser from his escalating pattern of violence. We do not yet know all of the facts, and therefore I do not, at this point, intend to offer opinions or comments on past events. What we do know, however, is that domestic violence is a complex problem, and that victims of abuse consistently find themselves evaluating their own safety in light of what they know about their abuser. Victims know best what their abuser is capable of, and should never be blamed for the criminal actions of a batterer. Often a victim’s actions may appear confusing or unexpected, but we know that a victim’s survival instincts may lead them to do what is necessary in the immediate moment in order to protect themselves and others from ongoing violence.

 

While the facts and circumstances leading up to the Brookfield shooting continue to emerge, I wish to confirm my commitment to assist the prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and victim service professionals charged with responding to cases of domestic abuse. The Department of Justice currently provides training to law enforcement officers throughout the state on a continuing basis through our Training and Standards Bureau. Our Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor (VAWRP) provides ongoing technical assistance to help local district attorneys’ offices investigate and successfully prosecute domestic violence cases using best practices and collaborative community models. Finally, our Office of Crime Victim Services (OCVS) helps crime victims understand their rights and access the assistance they deserve. OCVS also provides federal and state grant money to domestic violence advocacy centers throughout the state to ensure that victims receive the community support they need.

 

The Department of Justice will continue these support programs, and pledges to work closely with criminal justice professionals, those who advocate for victims of domestic violence, and other community partners, to identify additional domestic violence training and resource needs that come to light in the wake of this shocking violence.

 

Future training on domestic violence issues will include specialized training at the request of the Brown Deer Police Department for law enforcement in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Brown Deer Police Chief Steven Rinzel has reached out to our Training and Standards Bureau to request training and education on issues relating to domestic violence. We will work with Chief Rinzel to identify and address the training needs of Milwaukee-area law enforcement and prosecutors in a timely manner. I look forward to working with Chief Rinzel and his staff.

 

If domestic violence is affecting you or someone close to you, please know that you are not alone. Our Department of Justice website lists a number of resources at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/cvs/ , including the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline:

 

1-800-799-SAFE. In addition, you can find the direct number for a Wisconsin domestic violence service provider in your area by accessing the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence website at www.WCADV.org/gethelp. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.