Domestic Violence Courts
New York's criminal domestic violence courts build on a court model first established with the Brooklyn Felony Domestic Violence Court in 1996. These courts are characterized by a single presiding judge; dedicated on-site staff (including a court resource coordinator, victim advocate and representatives from defense and prosecution); and a coordinated community response between the justice system and community stakeholders. Each component of the New York State domestic violence court model is designed to promote enhanced victim safety and offender accountability.
Currently there are over 35 domestic violence courts operating within Supreme, Criminal, and Justice courts in jurisdictions across the state, including the Bronx and Westchester County, the cities of Albany and Buffalo, smaller cities like Binghamton and Glens Falls, and the towns of Clarkstown and Fort Edward.
How They Work
New York's Domestic Violence Courts include the following key elements:
Dedicated Judge: A single judge presides over cases from post-arraignment through sentencing and compliance. This practice improves decision-making and ensures consistent and efficient case handling.
On-going Monitoring: Intensive judicial supervision of these cases enables the court to hold offenders accountable by promoting compliance with orders of protection and other court mandates, such as program attendance, and to swiftly respond to violations.
Resource Coordinator: A resource coordinator collects and prepares offender and victim information for the judge, holds agencies accountable for accurate and prompt reporting, and is the court’s primary liaison with the community.
On-Site Victim Advocate: The on-site victim advocate serves as primary linkage to services; creates safety plans, and coordinates housing, counseling, as well as other social services; and provides victims with information about criminal proceedings, and special conditions contained within their orders of protection.
Coordinated Community Response: A coordinated community response involves increased information sharing, communication and coordination among criminal justice agencies and community-based social services; a consistent and collaborative response to domestic violence; and more opportunities for continued education and training on domestic violence and the courts.
New York's 75 domestic violence courts--based on a model created by the Center for Court Innovation--handle over 32,000 cases each year, linking victims to counseling, shelter, and other services while strengthening the monitoring of those accused of battering.
Partners include the New York State Unified Court System, county district attorneys, victim advocates, probation, law enforcement, civil attorneys, and the matrimonial bar
The Center works with courts across the country (including Alabama, Mississippi and Vermont) to improve their court response to domestic violence. Click here to see our technical assistance page.