Heroin Addiction And Domestic Violence At Fore Of Attorney General’s Summit

Director Of Office Of Crime Victim's Services Speaks To DAs


At the annual Attorney General’s Summit on Public Safety this week, heroin addiction and domestic violence were highlighted as the most pressing issues for prosecutors and law enforcement to tackle.

Strategy sessions on heroin were closed to the media because presenters were discussing ongoing drug investigations.

On the domestic violence front, the director of the state’s Office of Crime Victim’s services, Jill Karofsky, urged both police and prosecutors to change their approach to interviewing victims of both sexual assault and domestic violence. She said that too often cases get dismissed or dropped because victims weren’t given the time to overcomes the trauma of an attack before they were interviewed.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“You get statements like, ‘He threatened to kill me before he ripped my shirt off,’ or ‘No wait, he choked me after he raped me,’” she said. “How can they not keep their story straight? It doesn’t make sense. But it does, and the more time and the more space that you give victims, the more it starts to make sense.”

Karofsky also gave the DAs and police officers at the summit an economic argument to use when lobbying for more resources to reduce domestic violence: She cited a study that found it costs $210,000 in medical, welfare and economic productivity losses to care for a child who has been abused or neglected in domestic violence situations.

“So that’s this kid being a victim of nonfatal maltreatment at a young age,” she said. “Then what’s the cost of raising this kid for all of us over a lifetime? What we oftentimes hear is that, ‘No we don’t have the money to do it.’ No, we don’t have the money not to do it.”

In 2012, 14 children in Wisconsin were killed in domestic violence incidents. Sixteen were left without a mother and six were left without a father.