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Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor’s Office creates domestic violence unit

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 9:05 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson announced Thursday that a special unit will be created from the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute domestic violence crimes.

Experienced Prosecutor Monica Elkinton was named Deputy Municipal Prosecutor in charge of the unit, according to a press release from the city. Elkinton will lead the 11-member unit devoted to prosecuting domestic violence crimes, which account for about half of the crimes prosecuted by the municipality each year, according to the release. The unit will focus on crimes involving intimate partner violence, child abuse, and neglect.

“I was very happy to do it,” Elkinton said. “... I’ve been, you know, talking with victims and helping to enforce the law, and prosecuting these cases and holding people accountable.”

Another part of the job is making referrals to treatment programs and trying to give defendants tools to prevent violence in the future, Elkinton described.

She said the idea behind the new unit helps the city cover all the misdemeanors being sent its way after a change in code sent more cases to the municipality rather than the state. Elkinton added it’s a bit of reorganization allowing her team to focus on domestic violence rather than what the rest of the prosecutor’s office is focusing on.

“We keep victims informed when their case is going on,” Elkinton said. “We talk to them at every stage of the case, whether it’s being screened in — there’s bail hearings, there’s conditions that are changing, there’s offers that are made — and up to trial and sentencing. We’re keeping the victims informed throughout all of that, and there (are) services that we can offer that can help them in whatever aspect they need, not just kind of the legal part.”

Attorneys in Anchorage also prosecute “family violence,” the act of committing a domestic violence assault in the presence of a child, which can have long-term trauma consequences. Elkinton will lead the group made up of five prosecutors, four administrative support staff, and two Anchorage police officers.

“I am proud to appoint qualified prosecutors who can help make our community safer,” Bronson said in the announcement from the city.

Resources for domestic violence in Anchorage can be found here.

If you are facing threatened or actual domestic violence, please discreetly call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis in Anchorage at 907-272-0100.

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