On Oct. 29, a team of 20 officers representing the St. Joseph County Police Department, South Bend Police Department and Mishawaka Police Department hit the streets for our community’s second Domestic Violence Warrant Sweep.

The purpose of this apprehension detail was to arrest some of St. Joseph County’s most dangerous domestic and family violence offenders and, after a full day of coordinated efforts, 14 arrests were made and 24 warrants were executed. The individuals arrested face charges on offenses such as violation of a protective order, domestic battery and strangulation.

This event was held at the end of October to wrap up Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time that allies and advocates for the cause set aside to honor survivors and educate the larger community about the complexity of this pervasive form of abuse. However, for the Family Justice Center and our partners at the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, Special Victims Unit, and local law enforcement agencies, it is also a time to double-down on our commitment to holding these offenders accountable. Not only does this coordinated effort send the message to offenders that they can not hide from the consequences of their actions, we also hope that victims and survivors are reminded that we believe them and support them.

Each one of the arrests made and warrants executed on Oct. 29 reflects hours of planning and coordination on the part of these cornerstone partners. The St. Joseph County Domestic Violence High-Risk Team, a multidisciplinary team co-facilitated by the Family Justice Center and the YWCA of North Central Indiana that tracks and supports our community’s response to incidents of domestic violence, worked behind the scenes to put together the list of offenders to be pursued during the warrant sweep. Each year the DV-HRT manages approximately 280 of the most dangerous domestic violence cases in our community with the goal of improving systematic communication, connecting victims with supportive services, and holding offenders accountable.

The successful outcome of this year’s Domestic Violence Warrant Sweep demonstrates our community’s commitment to working together to acknowledge and address the severity of the issue of domestic violence in St. Joseph County. We know that a coordinated response that includes high quality, trauma-informed victim services working in tandem with law enforcement and the criminal justice system is our best defense against the cycle of power and control that feeds domestic violence. The Family Justice Center is dedicated to providing opportunities for all partners to work together to reduce domestic violence and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partners for their support of this year’s warrant sweep and their ongoing commitment to our vision of making St. Joseph County a safer and healthier community for all families.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or sexual violence, please reach out to the Family Justice Center’s 24-Hour crisis line at 574-289-HELP or the YWCA at 1-866-YES-YWCA.

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