Victims of domestic abuse have a new strategy in their corner for keeping perpetrators behind bars – the telephone.
Since last year, every prisoner telephone call at every New York City jail has been recorded with the exception of calls made to doctors or lawyers. In cases of domestic violence, the recordings paint a graphic picture of the many ways abusers coerce their victims into silence.
In fact, 75% of the time women victimized by domestic violence stop helping the prosecutors working to convict their abusers – especially after speaking to them.
The recordings reveal anything from specific instructions for how victims should proceed, to sweet-talking attempts and insults meant to belittle and keep victims silent, and even confessions of what really happened like the examples below:
“I need you to prepare the kids to start lying.”
“Whatever you do, do not speak to the D.A.”
“Basically tell him things like this: ‘It was just a misunderstanding. I love him. We want to get married and we want to have children together…Say something nice like that, anything like that, you know what I’m saying, baby?”
“I need you right now in my corner.”
I’m a “brand new” man. I was under the spell of a “passion of love.”
“I’m smarter than you.”
“There was mad blood in the house.”
The recordings are immensely helpful for prosecutors who can use the conversations as proof of abuse or as a mean to explain why injured women remain silent and choose not to testify against their attackers.
“When you’re talking about domestic violence cases, this policy of monitoring every jail call is probably the single most important investigative procedure put in place in the last decade anywhere in the country,” said Casey Gwinn, president of the National Family Justice Center Alliance, which provides training and assistance to domestic violence prosecutors.
With so many victims coerced by their attackers to remain silent, domestic abuse cases are notoriously difficult to prove in court. This new strategy offers prosecutors a new method to get victims much deserved justice.
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Photo by Ken Mayer used under a Creative Commons license - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ken_mayer/3579096098/
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