Domestic Violence Waiting Room created at Toledo Municipal Court - WNEM TV 5

'Domestic Violence Waiting Room' created at Toledo Municipal Court

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The waiting area gives prosecutors a place to interview victims and help them feel safe. The waiting area gives prosecutors a place to interview victims and help them feel safe.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A total of 2,000 domestic violence cases are heard annually in Toledo Municipal Court. Judges say it's an epidemic.

"There's not enough room in the courtroom for everybody to sit. People are sitting in the hallways, laying in the hallways. It's very congested. We've outgrown this building," said Judge Michelle Wagner.

That overcrowding may intimidate some victims of domestic violence. Court officials say only 25 percent of incidents in Toledo are reported.

"We've found that problems in the past with the general population, that these folks are going to be in the hallways, sometimes with the perpetrators and perpetrators' family. And we've see incidents of intimidation. And that's what we hope to stop," said prosecutor David Toska.

It's being stopped though a "domestic violence waiting room," which will open Monday. The space will give prosecutors a private opportunity to interview victims, but more importantly, help them feel safe and bring their cases to justice.

"If the victims show up, it's easier to prosecute. The relationship needs to be established beyond a reasonable doubt, and generally, the only way to do that is through the victim's testimony," explained Wagner. 

The Toledo Municipal Court and city of Toledo prosecutor's office worked together to establish the room, which will be staffed by a domestic violence prosecutor, domestic violence advocates, as well as a domestic violence runner. Security features were added for those working in or using the room. 

"All of the judges and staff of the Toledo Municipal Court continually review case processes to ensure that victims' interests are being met. We are excited to have been able to provide this level of continued support," said presiding judge William Connelly, Jr.

On Friday, Chief Prosecutor David Toska and his staff opened the waiting room to "practice" for Monday. 

Starting Saturday, notices and subpoenas to victims in domestic violence cases will direct victims to the Domestic Violence Waiting Room. Additionally, the Toledo Police Department is working to update forms victims are provided on scene so they are aware of the waiting room.

Domestic violence is always wrong. Let us help.

What to do if you are a/an:

-Victim 

-Family member or friend of a victim

-Survivor

-Abusive partner


Resource Guides

-YWCA

-Ohio Domestic Violence Network 

-Bethany House

-The Hotline

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Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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