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Exploring 4 Key Innovations and Outcomes in Domestic Violence Courts. Center for Court Innovation National Domestic Violence Court Technical Assistance Project March 2, 2010.

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Exploring 4 key innovations and outcomes in domestic violence courts

Exploring 4 Key Innovations and Outcomes in Domestic Violence Courts

Center for Court Innovation

National Domestic Violence Court Technical Assistance Project

March 2, 2010

Exploring 4 key innovations and outcomes in domestic violence courts

Faculty: Violence CourtsHonorable Eugene Hyman, Superior Court of California, Santa ClaraAndy Klein, Senior Research Analyst, Advocates for Human PotentialNick Zajchowski, Policy and Program Analyst, Municipal Court of SeattleJennifer DeCarli, Executive Director, New York City Family Justice Center, Brooklyn Moderator: Liberty Aldrich, Director, Domestic Violence Programs, Center for Court Innovation

4 key innovations in dv courts
4 Key Innovations in DV Courts Violence Courts

  • Victim Safety

  • Accountability

  • Coordinated Community Response

  • Case Processing

Center for court innovation
Center for Court Innovation Violence Courts

  • OVW National Technical Assistance Provider for Domestic Violence Courts

  • Liberty Aldrich, Esq. Director of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Family Court Programs at the Center for Court Innovation,provides technical assistance on the development and implementation of domestic violence courts nationally and internationally and works with government and non-government agencies to improve the coordinated community response to domestic violence. Additionally, she and the domestic violence staff provide domestic violence training to judges and court personnel and consult with family courts on child protective and custody programs. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Aldrich was the Director of Legal Services at Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest victim assistance agency. In that position, she represented domestic violence victims in family and supreme courts and federal immigration proceedings in addition to supervising staff attorneys. Ms. Aldrich is also a founder and director of Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT), an agency that assists over 55,000 New Yorkers every year.

Judge eugene hyman
Judge Eugene Hyman Violence Courts

  • Judge Eugene M. Hyman is a judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (San Jose) where, for 18 years, he has presided over cases in the criminal, civil, probate, family, and delinquency divisions of the court. He has presided over an adult domestic violence court and in 1999 presided over the first juvenile domestic violence and family violence court in the United States. Judge Hyman has spoken to both national and international audiences   and has published articles on issues surrounding domestic violence in the criminal and family courts--especially with co-occurring issues of substance abuse and mental health. He has a special interest in domestic violence as it affects children in the home and in the family court setting. He has special understanding of sexual abuse, stalking, and strangulation, as they intersect with domestic violence. Judge Hyman taught as a Lecturer in Law at the Santa Clara University School of Law for 21 years where he has taught a course "Domestic Violence Law Seminar" for the past several years. Most recently, on June 23, 2008, Judge Hyman was honored with the United Nations Public Service Award.

Andy klein
Andy Klein Violence Courts

  • Andrew Klein is a Senior Research Analyst at Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. (AHP), a research and consulting firm. In this role, he has served as a principal investigator on numerous research and evaluation grants for multiple federal, state and county government and nonprofit agencies in areas including domestic and family violence. An editor and columnist for the National Bulletin on Domestic Violence Prevention, he also is the author of Alternative Sentencing, Probation, and Intermediate Sanctions (Anderson Publishing Co.); and The Criminal Justice Response to Domestic Violence (Thomson/Wadsworth). Before joining AHP, he served for several decades as chief probation officer of the Quincy, Massachusetts Court, recognized as the first domestic violence court in the country. Mr. Klein established the first dedicated domestic violence probation supervision programs in the country in the early 1980’s which became one of the model programs incorporated into the Violence Against Women’s Act enacted in 1995. As a nationally recognized expert on domestic violence and criminal justice, Dr. Klein has served on numerous national commissions and advisory boards, including Creating a Domestic Violence Court: Guidelines and Best Practices. He has provided technical assistance, keynoted conferences, and professional training for responders to domestic violence in almost every state of the Union and at U.S. Military bases abroad.

Jennifer decarli esq lmsw
Jennifer DeCarli, Esq., LMSW Violence Courts

  • Jennifer DeCarli is employed by the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence where she is the Executive Director of the New York City Family Justice Center in Brooklyn. Prior to joining the Family Justice Center staff, Jennifer was the Director of the Safe Horizon Brooklyn Family Court Program. Prior to directing the Brooklyn program, Jennifer was the Director of the Staten Island Family and Criminal Court Program for Safe Horizon. Jennifer’s prior legal experience includes the University at Buffalo Law School’s Family Violence Clinic where she focused on assisting communities in developing a coordinated community response to domestic violence. She also worked for Southern Tier Legal Services, representing victims of domestic violence in Family Court. Subsequent to this, Jennifer was the Domestic Violence Legal Coordinator for the Greater Upstate Law Project in Rochester, New York, where she provided technical assistance to legal service providers and domestic violence advocates across New York State. Jennifer obtained her J.D. from the University at Buffalo Law School in May 1998 and a Master’s in Social Work from New York University in May 2003

Nick zajchowski mpa
Nick Zajchowski, MPA Violence Courts

  • Nick directs Seattle Municipal Court’s Research, Planning, and Evaluation Group, which strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of Court programs and services. The group has been instrumental in the development of the Court’s domestic violence, mental health, and community courts, as well as providing strategic advice and expertise on performance measures, technology planning, and stakeholder engagement. Prior to his time at the Court, Nick worked at as a criminal justice Analyst at the King County Office of Management and Budget. Nick also taught for several years in China and worked in the international development sector.

Outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation Violence Courts

  • Description of domestic violence courts

  • Discussion of common domestic violence court goals

  • Common tools and innovations to achieve each goal

  • Are these strategies effective?

  • Special NIJ Report: Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research


Background of domestic violence courts
Background of Domestic Violence Courts Violence Courts

  • Since the late 1970s, advocates have attempted to transform inadequate criminal justice response to domestic violence

    • Pro-arrest policies

    • Evidence-based prosecution

    • Specialized prosecution units

    • Passage of Violence Against Women Act in 1994

  • Massive influx of domestic violence cases into courts (178% increase from 1989-1999)

Definition of domestic violence court
Definition of Domestic Violence Court Violence Courts

  • No unifying definition

  • Typical components:

    • All cases on one or more separate calendars

    • One or more dedicated judges

    • Dedicated staff

  • Similarities and differences from other problem-solving court models

Domestic violence courts today
Domestic Violence Courts Today Violence Courts

  • Growing rapidly with approximately 200 domestic violence courts in the United States

  • Represents 27 states

  • Over 150 domestic violence courts internationally

Goal victim safety and services
Goal: Victim Safety and Services Violence Courts

  • The provision of frontloaded assistance, including court accompaniment, crisis intervention and shelter referral

  • Strategies:

    • Protective orders

    • Close offender monitoring

    • Courthouse safety measures for victims

    • Victim services

  • Domestic violence courts partner with local victim service agencies to provide victims with services and advocacy

Goal victim safety and services results
Goal: Victim Safety and Services Results Violence Courts

  • More victims linked to services

  • Greater use of protection orders: 88% of DV courts routinely issue temporary orders (pending cases); 82% issue final orders (convictions)

  • Increased victim satisfaction:

    • Perceive improved court process

    • Perceive fairer outcomes

    • Say more likely to report future violence and cooperate with future prosecutions

Goal accountability
Goal: Accountability Violence Courts

  • Holding domestic violence perpetrators responsible for their actions

  • Strategies:

    • Swift responses to noncompliance with court orders

    • Consistent use of jail or other sanctions in response to noncompliance

    • Use of programs

    • Enhanced coordination in collaboration with specialized probation

    • Use of judicial monitoring

    • Constant communication between programs, probation and court

Goal accountability1
Goal: Accountability Violence Courts

  • Sentencing – domestic violence courts have been associated with both a greater and lesser use of jail sentences than traditional courts

  • Program mandates – widespread agreement that domestic violence courts are more likely to use programs (batterer programs, substance abuse treatment, etc.); special bail conditions, drug testing; and judicial status hearings

Goal accountability2
Goal: Accountability Violence Courts

  • Court response to noncompliance

    • Use of programs, applied in tandem with judicial monitoring, can increase communication and opportunities to impose sanctions

    • JOD study – increased use of judicial monitoring significantly increases sanctions for noncompliance

    • CA Audit – found that only 1/2 of the offenders completed the program, more than ¼ of completers had significant noncompliance, & some probation departments routinely re-referred noncompliant offenders back to programs without imposing sanctions or notifying the court

  • Specialized probation units

    • More special conditions

    • Higher violation & revocation rates

    • Reduced re-arrest rate among low-risk DV offenders

    • Reduced re-arrest rate – through enforcement, not deterrence in Milwaukee JOD site

Goal coordinated response
Goal: Coordinated Response Violence Courts

  • Establishment of a collaborative network of courts, criminal justice agencies, local victim service organizations, and social service programs working together to create policies and procedures to assist and increase the safety of victims of domestic violence.

  • Strategies:

    • Include stakeholders in the conception and planning of the domestic violence court

    • Planning teams that can morph into stakeholder group that meets on an ongoing basis

    • Other strategies: discussed in previous presentation

Goal coordinated response1
Goal: Coordinated Response Violence Courts

  • Collaboration leads to:

    • Greater access to services for victims

    • Improved information sharing by probation and programs

  • Early participation promotes increased understanding, consensus, and buy-in

  • Provides the opportunity for training to court staff and stakeholders on relevant issues

Goal efficient case processing
Goal: Efficient Case Processing Violence Courts

  • Timely and effective management of the domestic violence caseload, including quick review and screening and the expeditious transfer and calendaring of the cases to the domestic violence docket.

  • Strategies:

    • Trained court staff

    • Specialized stakeholders

Goal efficient case processing1
Goal: Efficient Case Processing Violence Courts

  • Overwhelming support that misdemeanor domestic violence courts do speed up case processing time

    • San Diego documented a 74% reduction in the median number of days to disposition

  • However, a felony domestic violence court found that case processing time increased

Exploring 4 key innovations and outcomes in domestic violence courts

Questions Violence Courts

  • aldrichl@courtinnovation.org

  • Judge Hyman - four.justice@gmail.com

  • aklein@ahpnet.com

  • JenniferD@fjcnyc.org

  • Nick.Zajchowski@Seattle.Gov

  • #5 to mute or un-mute

Resources Violence Courts

CENTER FOR COURT INNOVATION Available on www.courtinnovation.org

  • Domestic Violence Court Toolkit (2008): step by step planning guide, available at aldrichl@courtinnovation.org

  • What Makes a Domestic Violence Court Work? Key Principles, (2002).

  • Planning a Domestic Violence Court - The New York State Experience, (2004).

  • Youth Dating Violence: Can a Court Help Break the Cycle? (2004).

  • Testing the Effectiveness of Batterer Programs and Judicial Monitoring, (2005).

Resources cont
Resources, Cont. Violence Courts

  • American Judges Association: http://aja.ncsc.dni.us

          “Domestic Violence & The Courtroom:  Understanding The Problem… Knowing The Victim”

  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: www.ncjfcj.org,    Domestic Violence Institutes for Judges

  • Special NIJ Report: Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/225722.pdf

  •  National Center for State Courts: http://www.ncsconline.org

    Problem-Solving Justice Toolkit

  • VERA Institute of Justice:  http://www.vera.org

    Judicial Review Hearings

  • Battered Women’s Justice Project:  www.bwjp.org

         Probation Group Meetings:  James E. Henderson, Jr.

  • Lisa Young Larance, MSW, LCSW, LMSW “RENEW” (Reflectively Embracing Non-violence through Education for Women):      www.csswashtenaw.org/renew

  • Emily J. Sack, Creating a Domestic Violence Court: Guidelines and Best Practices, Family Violence Prevention Fund (2002).

Exploring 4 key innovations and outcomes in domestic violence courts

The Center for Court Innovation is an Office of Violence Against Women approved technical assistance provider for domestic violence court initiatives.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2006-WT-AX-K044 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in the webinar are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women.

Contact information
Contact Information Against Women approved technical assistance provider for domestic violence court initiatives.

Liberty Aldrich

Center for Court Innovation

520 8th Avenue, 18th Floor

New York, NY 10018


(212) 373-8085