On January 1, 1994 the State Attorneys Domestic Violence Unit was formed to handle felony crimes of domestic violence, and in October of that same year misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence were added to the units responsibilities. The Domestic Violence Unit handles 5,000 domestic violence cases that are presented each year. The assistant state attorneys work closely with the Victim Advocate Unit to make certain that the victims of these serious crimes are kept informed and involved. The unit handles all domestic violence cases except murder in the first degree, sex crimes, elderly abuse, or cases with juvenile offenders regardless of gender.
In July of 1999 the Domestic Violence Unit together with the Victim Advocate Unit began staffing weekend first appearance hearings (Magistrate Court). This allows the State Attorneys Office to have a specially trained domestic violence prosecutor and victim advocate at the defendants first appearance so that victims can be heard, if they desire, and informed even when the case comes to court on a Saturday or Sunday. It also enables the State Attorneys Office to better inform the court on issues affecting bond and victim safety.
Domestic Violence is defined as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit.
Family or household member is defined as spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.
This Office maintains a pro-prosecution policy towards domestic violence. Therefore all cases involving crimes of domestic violence will be reviewed for prosecution regardless of the victims wishes.
Important telephone numbers:
State Attorneys Office - Domestic Violence Unit (954) 831-7978
State Attorneys Office - Victim Advocate Unit (954) 765-4133
Women In Distress of Broward County, Inc. (954) 760-9800