Brooklyn Domestic Violence Court
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
The 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.
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.