Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office
410 East High Street
Charlottesville, Virginia, 22902
October 30, 2007
Albemarle County Board of Supervisors
401 McIntire Road
Charlottesville VA 22902
Re: Request for Approval for the Formation of
The Monticello Area Domestic Violence
Fatality Review Team
Distinguished Board Members:
I am writing to request that the Albemarle Board of Supervisors approve the resolution to permit formation of the Monticello Area Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team.
In the Spring of 2006, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia conducted a training for law enforcement, court personnel, social services employees, and victim advocates in the Albemarle-Charlottesville area to discuss issues of domestic violence, particularly with regard to domestic violence related deaths and protective order enforcement. At that time Susheela Varkey of the Supreme Court and Amina Luchman of the Medical Examiner’s Office requested that Albemarle County form a fatality review team as part of a pilot program going on within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
As a result of that request, a coalition of the police departments, Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ offices, and Victim/Witness Programs for both the city and county, as well as members from the Shelter for Help in Emergency, and The Women’s Center at the University of Virginia began to meet to discuss the feasibility of the formation of a fatality review team for our area. Unanimously it was agreed that the purpose of working to prevent domestic violence homicides was an important goal given that we have not been immune to such incidents in our community, having suffered over six such events from 1999 through 2005. Given the goal of the fatality review team, the coalition worked with the Medical Examiner’s office to formulate a plan and mission statement, as well as beginning the task of lining up support from cooperating agencies in an effort to bring the plan into fruition. By the summer of this year, the groundwork has been laid to create a working fatality review team, and to execute memorandums of agreement and cooperation to effectively look at past domestic violence homicides in a manner to offer concrete assessment of both gaps in services as well as existing best practices so as to significantly impact the incidence of domestic violence homicides here in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville.
The City of Charlottesville has approved the resolution at their September meeting of City Council, and I am respectfully requesting that the Board of Supervisors for the County of Albemarle approve the same such that the fatality review team may move forward with this important work. Thank you all so much for your consideration of this resolution. I am,
Very Truly Yours,
Jon R. Zug
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney
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