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Published on May 17, 2024
Multnomah County DA Launches Innovative Program to Aid Domestic Violence SurvivorsSource: Multnomah County District Attorney's Office

In a progressive move to address domestic violence, Multnomah County’s top prosecutor is rolling out an innovative diversion program dedicated to helping survivors rather than locking them up. The new initiative spearheaded by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt intends to connect those battered and criminalized by their abusers with essential community services to heal from trauma, as opposed to enduring the traditional prosecution route. This survivor-centered approach is patterned after a successful program in King County and will be working closely with Bradley Angle, a social service agency with a track record of advocating for victims, specifically those of color.

According to an announcement by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys handpicked them to receive specialized assistance to set this project in motion. DA Schmidt is eager to "move from the planning phase to implementation," acknowledging that to effectively combat domestic violence is a top concern for his office. The insight from peers in King County will be instrumental in adopting practices that are best suited for the local community.

On the front lines of this endeavor, the Executive Director of Bradley Angle, Bri Condon, explained, “A common tactic by abusers is to use the criminal legal system against those they have harmed," as stated by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office. She emphasized the partnership's commitment to "blocking that tactic" and ensuring that survivors, especially those from marginalized communities, find a pathway to safety and justice. This sentiment echoes the ethos behind the initiative — to mend the cycle of abuse holistically rather than strictly through punitive measures.

David LaBahn, President of the APA, voiced his support, stating, “APA is extremely pleased to support the development of a survivor-centered diversion program in Multnomah County." He praised the dedication of both the district attorney’s office and Bradley Angle. Moreover, LaBahn touched upon the potential to scale the project, aiming to "take the lessons learned from this pilot program and provide information nationally" to other jurisdictions also looking to better address trauma and support survivors with culturally relevant services. Funded by the Office for Victims of Crime, the APA has partnered with Bowie State University to measure the outcomes yielded by the program.