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DA launches broad program to cope with domestic violence

(Photo contributed) New initiative is designed to prosecute and prevent domestic and sexual violence.

PITTSFIELD – Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington has launched a community-wide initiative and announced new systems in the DA’s Office to prevent and prosecute domestic and sexual violence, which she said had reached a crisis point with the murders of several Berkshire County women, significant increases in restraining order filings and high rates of reported rapes.

Speaking at the Elizabeth Freeman Center in Pittsfield, the District Attorney announced the formation of the Berkshire County Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force and an 18-member Steering Committee. Led by the DA’s Office, the Task Force will facilitate a strategic plan to address domestic and sexual violence across Berkshire County and engage community action across multiple disciplines. Stakeholders will identify and secure needed resources, raise awareness through outreach, education and training, and develop innovative techniques to confront these problems. The team of community leaders will work together to hold abusers accountable, protect victims and sponsor supportive legislation.

“Together, we will confront this growing public health crisis by building a healthy Berkshire County, where all can live safely and secure,” DA Harrington said. “By collaborating with local stakeholders, we will create a robust, trauma-informed approach to identifying and ending domestic abuse, sexual violence and sex trafficking.”

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