ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon is blunt when describing what it’s like to prosecute domestic violence cases.
“Domestic violence is tricky,” he said Tuesday during his monthly meeting with reporters.
He noted every case has different factors that lead to physical violence, and it affects all types of people.
“Domestic violence is a serious issue that we all face,” McMahon said of its geographical scope.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Kane County has seen results since it began a domestic violence diversion program three years ago, McMahon said.
The program targets first-time offenders willing to take responsibility for their actions. Participants receive counseling two hours a week for 26 weeks.
“Diversion provides immediate access to counseling,” McMahon said, giving a timeframe of 60 to 90 days after the arrest.
Before, he said, counseling wouldn’t be ordered until after the criminal case was over, which could take more than a year.
Maureen Manning-Rosenfeld, director of client services at the Community Crisis Center in Elgin, said counselors are convincing the participants at a much earlier phase that they are participating in “self-defeating” behavior.
“The treatment works,” she said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser, who prosecutes domestic violence cases, said 207 people have successfully completed the diversion program, and 46 cases have resulted in a negative termination. She noted there are 281 active cases.
Changing behavior is important because it is often passed down by parents to their children, Mosser said. In her eight years with the State’s Attorney’s Office, she said, she has already seen that cycle of learned behavior affect a family.
Visit http://saopublic.co.kane.il.us for information about the domestic violence diversion program in Kane County.
For information or to get help, contact the following hotlines:
• The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233
• The National Sexual Assault Hotline, 800-656-4673
• The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline, 866-331-9474