Domestic Violence Mentor Courts
The Office on Violence Against Women Mentor Court Initiative support criminal and civil courts seeking to improve their response to domestic violence. In 2013, three Domestic Violence Courts were selected to serve as resources for courts across the county by hosting site visits; facilitating peer-to-peer learning; and providing examples of effective practices for visiting teams of judges, court personnel, and other criminal justice and domestic violence stakeholders.
The three Mentor Courts represent a diversity of communities and court models.
The Ada County Domestic Violence Court (DVC) has responded to misdemeanor criminal domestic violence cases and related civil matters since 2006. Located in Boise, Idaho, the court handles over 400 active cases a year, based on the integrated domestic violence court model of “one-family one-judge.” As a fast-track court, the Ada County DVC disposes of cases in 58 days from arrest to sentencing, on average. A strong team made up of two judges, two prosecutors, a public defender, probation officers, a court coordinator, victim witness coordinators, the family court services coordinator, and a private member of the bar allow the DVC to implement a number of best practices, including: supervised probation; post-sentence judicial monitoring; evidence-based offender assessment and specialized treatment; and comprehensive case planning. You can read more about the Ada County Domestic Violence Court, and listen to Judges James Cawthon and Carolyn Minder discuss the Ada County response to domestic violence.
County Criminal Court #10 in Dallas handles only misdemeanor criminal cases and was the first specialized domestic violence court in the State of Texas, opening in 1996. Dallas County is home to 2.4 million people, and includes diverse municipalities ranging from densely populated urban areas to smaller suburbs. County Criminal Court #10 focuses on high-risk offenders, assigning them to both pre-trial and probation dockets with enhanced judicial monitoring and compliance. Strong partnerships with the District Attorney’s Office and the Probation Department has increased supervision of these high-risk offenders.
The Brooklyn Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDV) hears misdemeanor criminal domestic violence cases as well as related family law and divorce cases in a high-volume urban setting. Since its inception in 2003, the Brooklyn IDV Court has disposed of over 19,000 cases involving 3,008 families in Kings County, NY, which has a population of 2.5 million. Located directly adjacent to the Brooklyn Family Justice Center, the Brooklyn IDV Court is able to work closely with the Kings County District Attorney’s specialized domestic violence bureau and connect victims with 25 on-site government agencies and community-based organizations.
If you’re interested in visiting one of the Domestic Violence Mentor Courts, please contact us. Travel costs are the responsibility of visiting teams, but some jurisdictions may be able to use current Office on Violence Against Women funding or other grant funds.