Domestic Violence

Staff members in the Northwestern District Attorney's Office DV unit

Domestic Violence Is a Serious Crime

The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit works closely with police departments, courts and social service agencies to address the serious problem of domestic violence and sexual assault through prosecution of the offenders and the development of strategies for prevention and intervention for the victims. For more information on sexual assault, please refer to the Sexual Assault page.

If you are the victim of abuse, you will be assigned a victim witness advocate to keep you informed of court proceedings. You have the right to be notified of the proceedings and to submit a victim impact statement to the court at sentencing.

In addition, the Northwestern District Attorney’s office sponsors many domestic violence prevention programs, including the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP), which provides victims of abuse access to trained domestic violence advocates shortly after the police response.  For more information about the DVIP program, see the brochure below.

Defining Abuse

Domestic violence happens at an alarming rate out of the public eye and behind closed doors. Its victims are young and old, may have a disability or be able-bodied, gay and straight, rich and poor and are from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Battering is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. If it includes physical violence, no matter how slight, threats of violence or sexual abuse, it is a criminal offense.

Domestic violence is not caused or provoked by the action or inaction of the victim. If you think you are being abused ask yourself the following questions:

Does your partner or household member:

  • Intimidate you or use threats to gain compliance?
  • Treat you roughly - grab, push, shove, pinch or hit you?
  • Force you to have sex?

Do you:

  • Sometimes feel scared of how your partner or household member will react?
  • Make excuses for his/her behavior?
  • Try not to do anything that will make him/her angry? 

If any of these things are happening to you, we encourage you to call the police in the city or town where the abuse happened. Restraining orders are available at local courts during business hours, with advocates in the court to help you seek an order. After hours, with the help of the police, you can seek an order through the Emergency Response System. A restraining order can order the abuser not to contact you, to remain away from your home, and to stay away from you and your school or place of employment. It gives police the power to make an immediate arrest if there is evidence that the abuser violated the order.

Brochures are available with additional information and phone numbers to call for help. Just click on the following links:

Brochures in Spanish

Information for Immigrants in other languages: