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Accession Number PB2013-100582
Title National Portrait of Domestic Violence Courts.
Publication Date 2012
Media Count 161p
Personal Author C. S. O'Sullivan M. Labriola M. Rempel S. Bradley S. Moore
Abstract A growing number of criminal courts nationwide handle domestic violence cases on separate calendars, termed domestic violence courts. There are now 208 confirmed domestic violence courts across the U.S. (Center for Court Innovation 2009). More than 150 similar projects have been established internationally. Some domestic violence courts emerged in the context of the broader problem-solving court movement and share characteristics with other specialized courts, such as separate dockets and specially trained judges. However, the origins of domestic violence courts are also distinct, growing out of the increased attention afforded domestic violence matters by the justice system over the past 30 years. With funding from the National Institute of Justice, this study explores how criminal domestic violence courts have evolved, their rationale, and how their operations vary across the U.S. This study does not test whether domestic violence courts reduce recidivism, protect victims, or achieve other specific effects although we provide a thorough literature review on these points. Rather, our aim is to present a comprehensive national portrait of the field as it exists today, laying the groundwork for future information exchange and research. Our results point to strong national convergence around the fundamental domestic violence court goals of victim safety and offender accountability. Yet, the study revealed wide variations in the policies and protocols that different courts have implemented to achieve these goals. We also identified other goals that did not achieve such high levels of agreement, including efficiency of case processing, correct application of state statutes, and offender rehabilitation. Several relationships were found that suggest associations between how courts prioritize their goals, the state in which the court is located, and the presence of statutory requirements, on the one hand, and specific court policies on the other hand. Since policies varied widely, domestic violence courts do not appear to have a single model to inform their operations. It is not the role of this report to posit that they should. This report simply provides an account of the current field, as a starting point for the development of proposals on how that field might change or grow.
Keywords Accountability
Domestic violence
Justice system
Victim safety

Source Agency Department of Justice General
NTIS Subject Category 92D - Education, Law, & Humanities
91C - Fire Services, Law Enforcement, & Criminal Justice
70F - Public Administration & Government
43D - Police, Fire, & Emergency Services
Corporate Author National Inst. of Justice, Washington, DC.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1305
Contract Number 2006-WG-BX-0001

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