In June, two members of the Lynchburg Commonwealth Attorney’s Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit attended the “National Institute on the Prosecution of Domestic Violence” sponsored by the National District Attorneys Association. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Jennifer Bennett and Rebecca Wetzel attended the four-day training event in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This training was conducted by the American Prosecutors Research Institute in collaboration with the Battered Women’s Justice Project. The conference was attended by fifty participants from across the nation. Much of the training was accomplished through interactive discussions and hands-on, practical activities. Some topics addressed included case evaluation, witness interviews, trial techniques, and sentencing options. Ms. Bennett and Ms. Wetzel returned from the conference with new prosecutorial skills and ideas, as well as a renewed enthusiasm for the specialized area of domestic violence prosecution.
Domestic Violence Unit Supervisor H. Cary Payne recently praised his team members for completing this training, noting: “ The dynamics and characteristics of prosecuting domestic violence cases are replete with difficulty and are not for the faint of heart. Only those prosecutors who are specially trained and are able to recognize the effects of domestic violence can effectively prosecute this very emotional and violent crime. This training should increase our Unit’s capabilities substantially.”