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Berkshire County DA Launches New Approach To Reduce Domestic And Sexual Assault

The Berkshire County District Attorney's office is introducing a new approach to domestic and sexual assault cases. 

Usually, an alleged victim files a complaint with the police and the police investigate.

DA Andrea Harrington now says she wants her office to be notified as soon as a complaint has been made so it can offer support to victims and to law enforcement — similar to the way it works with police in a homicide case.

“We provide legal advice in terms of if search warrants are required,” Harrington said. “We give them feedback on what evidence can be used at trial, and how it can be used. And it's a much more cooperative way of developing a case.”

Harrington is also forming a domestic and sexual violence task force to develop a county-wide plan.

Harrington and other officials point to the number of requests for restraining orders in the Berkshire County — more than 1,000 in each of the last three years.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
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