ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Domestic violence is a problem in St. Louis, one that some say is made worse by the small number of people working to prosecute offenders.
The head of the Metro Police Domestic Violence Response Unit says the St. Louis Police Department receives at least 18,000 domestic violence calls each year.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office has a Victim’s Services Unit specifically for domestic violence but there are only four attorneys handling the caseload: two prosecutors and two advocates.
“We usually average about 300-400 new domestic violence cases a year, and then you add that onto the cases that carry over from year to year,” Unit Director Kathy Tofall says.
This year, the unit took on more than 500 new cases. Those cases, according to Tofall, range from felonies – such as murder – to misdemeanor stalking.
“Our attorneys carry an average caseload of about 80 cases at the felony level, which is high. The misdemeanor caseload is well over 100, 150 that are pending,” Tofall explains.
She says domestic violence cases can be especially difficult to prosecute because oftentimes the victims stop cooperating with prosecutors after they’ve been threatened.