This includes developing law enforcement policies that, regardless of the crime, require arrest where sufficient probable cause exists, without inquiring as to whether a victim wishes there to be an arrest (see CPL §140.10). While these policies limit the autonomy of victims in deciding whether an arrest should be made, the major concern of law enforcement agencies should be in strict, consistent enforcement of laws and immediate victim safety. The input of victims should be considered when making enforcement and prosecutorial decisions, but responding to the presenting needs of victims need not interfere with law enforcement's primary goal-to enforce the law. (See 1.f. below.)
Investigation, interviewing, evidence collection, and case documentation strategies should be developed that, to the greatest degree possible, allow for "evidence-centered" prosecutions, including prosecuting violations of probation and parole. These strategies use the victim statements as corroboration to the other evidence, rather than relying primarily on the victim's testimony.
Further, policies should be developed that create mechanisms for sharing information and joint case management between civil and criminal courts. For example, Family Courts, criminal courts, probation and community corrections agencies should develop monitoring and supervision mechanisms that do not rely solely upon victim reports of abuse, particularly in determining compliance with orders of protection and conditions of probation or parole.
Finally, guidance is necessary, through law enforcement policy, training, and supervision, in determining the primary aggressor in a domestic incident to avoid the problem of victims being inappropriately arrested or coerced into not pursuing an arrest of their abuser. This policy must be in accordance with Chapter 4, signed into law in October of 1997 and effective on January 12, 1998, with guidelines to be issued by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.
b.Criminal justice agencies, courts, and legal professionals should develop protocols and supportive services that ensure that a victim's participation in the legal process will not expose her to unnecessary dangers or costs.
The procedural needs of the criminal justice and civil court systems should never take priority over victim safety and should never unduly expose the victim to a preventable hazard or cost. Particularly in those instances where a criminal case will go forward regardless of a victim's expressed