Jefferson Co. creates specialized juvenile domestic violence - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jefferson Co. creates specialized juvenile domestic violence unit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The cycle of violence starts early and spirals into adulthood, but Jefferson County attorney's are hoping to put an end to it.

A specialized juvenile domestic violence unit aims to change those behaviors and prevent them from reoccurring.

"They have a history with their families and I think that this program has the potential to cut that off and stop it and give them a new opportunity," said Erin White, a dedicated prosecutor to juvenile cases.

In the first three weeks on the job, White has seen many teenagers who have regular run-ins with the law.

She says, "I am looking forward to utilizing my experience as a prosecutor as well as a social worker to work with families and try to stop the cycle, the cycle of violence."

In 2013 there were 158 domestic violence and 74 sexual assault cases in Jefferson County juvenile court. Mike O'Connell appointed White to create a specialized unit focusing on those cases.

"Short term is just to get the program running and start getting kids involved in the counseling and group therapy program as soon as we can," said White.

"That would be the goal in my mind, to stop especially the repeat offends from coming back again and again into juvenile court," said Chris Brown, the juvenile division chief.

Prosecutors says the environment in the home is the biggest contributing factor to teen violence. It's a habit Jefferson County attorney's hope to break through counseling and intervention.

"Those behaviors are learned, they're exposed to violence in the home and no body should be surprised when they act out in the same way when that's all they've known," said Brown.

White, a prosecutor dedicated to handling those cases will bring consistency to office. She will help keep victim's safe and hold offenders accountable.

"Kids aren't born perpetrators, they are either perpetrated on themselves or they witness other families members being perped up so I think now is the time to teach them the right way," said White.

The Jefferson County attorney's office plans to track the number of repeat offenders over the years hoping to see that number go down in juvenile court.

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