Improving access to the courts for victims of domestic violence and those accused of harm enhances safety and accountability and ensures a more just and effective system.
We have created original publications and guides and provide training and expert assistance on the following topics in order to increase access to justice in domestic violence cases:
Procedural Justice: Research shows that if litigants feel they were treated with respect and perceive the court process as fair, they are more likely to comply with court orders and view the court as a resource.
Learn more about using procedural justice in domestic violence cases
Cultural Responsiveness: Litigants in domestic violence cases face additional barriers when courts are not responsive to their cultural identities. Courts can help overcome these barriers and reduce bias by implementing culturally-responsive practices, ranging from enhanced language access, to designing more accessible buildings, to improving staff's understanding of the role of gender. To help in this effort, we created the video below, along with an accompanying viewers' guide, showing how culturally-responsive practices can be incorporated into domestic violence cases.
Self-Represented Litigants: The Self-Represented Litigation Network estimates that approximately three out of five litigants in civil cases are without counsel. Data from states that track the percentage of self-represented litigants indicate that domestic relation cases, and especially domestic violence protection order cases, have even higher levels of self-representation. This gap in representation has a particularly disproportionate impact on domestic violence victims, low-income litigants, and people of color.
Read a domestic violence risk factor guide for civil judges and self-represented litigants
Rural and Remote Access: In obtaining legal relief, victims living in rural and remote communities face the barriers of distance from the courthouse, lack of public transit, and few if any social and legal services. Along with the National Center for State Courts, we have developed strategies for conducting outreach in these communities and facilitating remote access to the legal process.
Court Technology: Litigants involved in domestic violence cases may have legal matters heard in both civil and criminal courts. A lack of communication between courts can lead to conflicting orders and noncompliance. Information sharing technology helps court staff track cases more efficiently and keep judges informed, leading to more consistent orders. Judges can also use technology to closely monitor offender compliance, specifically by enabling law enforcement, probation, and offender intervention programming staff to report to the court.
Please contact us to learn more about any of these topics or any other aspect of our domestic violence work.