DOJ helping after Washington County domestic violence victims jailed

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The U.S. Department of Justice has had multiple conversations with state officials about the jailing of domestic violence victims in Washington County, according to a spokesperson. The Office on Violence Against Women has since provided technical assistance to help improve training.

“The Office on Violence Against Women is committed to trauma-informed, victim-centered approaches to dealing with domestic and sexual abuse,” the agency said in a statement. “When we receive information that a state administering agency may not be in compliance with grant program requirements, it is our practice to reach out to the administering agency to ask for more information. In this case, we have had several conversations with the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs.”

Our Community Watchdog investigation previously found more than 12 times over the last year Washington County arrested victims of domestic violence for disobeying subpoenas, even though the county’s federal grant prohibits penalizing victims who refuse to testify.

“The Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs has assured us that they are working with the community and that the community is making efforts to hold offenders accountable while promoting victim safety and support,” the agency said. “The state is also looking at this as a training opportunity, and OVW has connected them with technical assistance.”

Copyright WJHL 2016. All rights reserved.

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