D.A. Seeks Grant for Abuse Prosecutor

Swamped by a dramatic increase in domestic violence cases, the Ventura County district attorney's office is seeking a $110,000 state grant that would be used to add a sixth prosecutor to handle spousal abuse cases.

The district attorney's Sexual Assault and Family Protection Unit currently has four prosecutors handling misdemeanor cases and a fifth in charge of felony cases.

The workload for all five attorneys has skyrocketed during the last year, with each prosecutor juggling 30 to 40 cases each at a time, officials said. The Sheriff's Department reported a 62.8% increase in cases involving physical injuries inflicted on a spouse or partner in 1994.

To enhance its prosecution of spousal abusers, the district attorney's office wants to apply for a state grant to fund an additional prosecutor, an additional investigator and a victim's advocate in its family protection unit for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The $110,000 grant would come from the state's $3.5-million Spousal Abuser Prosecution Program established in 1994, said Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Lela M. Henke-Dobroth. The grant requires a $22,000 matching contribution, she said.

The county Board of Supervisors will consider the district attorney's grant application at its meeting today.

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