Brooklyn Domestic Violence Court

Overview

The Brooklyn Felony Domestic Violence Court, which opened in June 1996, adjudicates all indicted domestic violence felonies in the borough of Brooklyn. A dedicated court team—judge, attorneys, victim advocates and a resource coordinator—ensures that defendants are carefully monitored, victims have access to comprehensive services and the judges have the information they need to make quick and effective decisions.

How It Works

Hon. John LeventhalHon. John LeventhalThe Court seeks to achieve the following goals:

Immediacy: The response to domestic violence is immediate, certain and consistent. It includes traditional punishment—incarceration and probation—as well as mandated participation in batterers' intervention programs and strict enforcement of orders of protection.

Safety: The Court enhances victim safety by assigning to each case a victim advocate who links complainants to social services (including shelter) and provides them with up-to-date information about case status.

Accountability: Intense scrutiny of defendants' compliance with court orders and frequent court appearances ensures a swift response to violations.

Consistency: Defendants are more accountable for their actions because a single judge knows the full history of each case.

Coordination: The Court increases information-sharing and coordination among criminal justice and community-based social service agencies through ongoing stakeholder meetings.

Technology: Customized technology helps the judge make more informed decisions. For example, the judge can access compliance information provided directly by the Court's off-site partners.

Results

The Brooklyn Felony Domestic Violence Court includes two judges in the Kings County Supreme Court. The probation violation rate for defendants is half the typical rate for this population. Victim advocates assigned to the Court make contact with virtually all victims, offering referral services, counseling and safety planning. The Court has served as a model for dozens of domestic violence courts in New York, including courts in the Bronx, Queens, Westchester, and Glens Falls.

Featured Research

Publications

Combatting Domestic Violence in Indian Country: Are Specialized Domestic Violence Courts Part of the Solution?

Combatting Domestic Violence in Indian Country: Are Specialized Domestic Violence Courts Part of the Solution?

By Kathryn Ford

Domestic violence is one of the most pressing problems facing Native American and Alaska Native communities. Although the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act recognizes the authority of tribes to prosecute non-Native offenders, more tools are needed. This paper explores whether specialized domestic violence courts, which focus on enhancing victim safety and promoting offender accountability, can be part of a multi-faceted approach for tribal justice systems to address domestic violence.

 

Video

An Integrated Approach: A Court's Innovative Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence

An Integrated Approach: A Court's Innovative Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence

Domestic violence can involve physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse and require litigants to participant in multiple cases in many courtrooms before many judges. The Manhattan Integrated Domestic Violence Court streamlines the process by combining a family's cases in one courtroom before a single judge. By doing so, the court promotes greater victim safety and makes it easier to link litigants to services and monitor compliance with court orders.

Interviews

Supervised Visitation: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's Unique Approach

Supervised Visitation: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's Unique Approach

Katheryn Lotsos and Stephen Forrester from the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children discuss their organization’s approach to supervised visitation. Supervised visitation is frequently required by courts in child welfare or domestic violence cases and allows children to meet with non-custodial parents in a secure and controlled environment. The Society's therapeutic model includes safety planning, parent education classes, special training for the professionals supervising the visits, and close collaboration with the courts.

Contact
  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • One Park Place
  • 300 South State Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13202
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Kean House, 6 Kean Street
  • London, WC2B 4AS
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060