Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. The Iron Range: Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota


Northern St. Louis County and surrounding areas are known throughout Minnesota as "the Range" because the Mesabi Iron Range was the main reason for settlement of the area and the core of its economic base until the end of the 1960s. The largest town is Hibbing, with about 18,000 people; the Range Women's Advocates, the primary domestic violence advocacy and service organization, is located in Virginia, a town of about 9,500. There are 10 other, smaller, towns in the area large enough to have their own police department; courts are located in both Hibbing and Virginia, but are part of the same state court district (the 11th). The population is virtually all white (97 percent), of Scandinavian, German, and central European extraction, with about two-thirds of the non-white population being Native American. From the 1960s through the early 1980s, the Range suffered economic decline and population loss as the mines and iron- related manufacturing and extraction dwindled and nothing took its place. However, the feeling of some of those we interviewed was that during the past decade the populace has come to terms with the economic circumstances, stopped simply longing for the return of the past, and has moved to a place of economic stability, albeit not growth, and certainly not prosperity for all.