Domestic violence cases are often described by judges and court staff as having one of the highest potentials for violence in and around the courthouse. While courts may implement general court security best practices, domestic violence cases present uniquely dangerous risks towards courthouse safety, for both litigants and court staff.
Coming to the courthouse and participating in hearings can be confusing and intimidating for anyone but is especially so for domestic violence survivors. They may have significant concerns for their and their children’s emotional and physical safety; may be contending with the effects of recent trauma; and may have difficulty accessing the supportive resources that they need. It’s essential for court teams to proactively design and implement strategies to support survivors’ safety and well-being so they can meaningfully participate in the legal process.
In the latest episode of our podcast series, our host Juan Carlos Areán from Futures Without Violence speaks with Lisa Nitsch, Director of Training and Education at House of Ruth in Baltimore, and Tamaris Princi, Director of Abusive Partner Intervention Programs at the Urban Resource Institute in New York about holistic wraparound services for abusive partners. They address issues surrounding accountability, understanding the motives and needs of abusive partners, and centering survivor voices in developing these programs.
Host Juan Carlos Areán from Futures Without Violence speaks with Aldo Seoane and Greg Grey Cloud, co-founders of Wica Agli, and Jeremy NeVilles-Sorell, the director of the National Native Coalition of Men’s Programs, about their abusive partner intervention program in South Dakota and their national work to improve safety and prevent domestic and sexual violence within the indigenous community.
Across the country, courts utilize compliance calendars in both civil and criminal domestic violence proceedings to ensure that defendants and respondents adhere to court-ordered conditions, including no new arrests, abusive partner intervention or other program mandates, supervised visitation or safe exchange, parenting plans, and child support. This guide outlines best practices to help courts develop or enhance compliance calendars.
Juan Carlos Areán of Futures Without Violence leads a discussion on the importance of centering survivor voices in abusive partner intervention work both at the community-based and system level. They offer strategies to safely center survivor voices and experiences in the work, such as hosting multi-disciplinary case staffings, offering surrogate victim impact sessions, and including survivors in the curricula review and staff training processes.
Specialized domestic violence courts have shown promise in keeping victims safe, supporting offenders in changing their behavior, and repairing harm to individuals and communities. Some tribal communities have implemented these specialized courts and dockets to address the high rates of violence that Native women experience, oftentimes by non-Native perpetrators.
Neighborhoods impacted by high rates of gun violence also have the highest levels of reported domestic violence incidents. The RISE Project works to ensure community-based gun violence prevention efforts have more tools and resources to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence. On this episode of In Practice, the RISE team talks to Rob Wolf about the initiative and how it differs from a more conventional law enforcement approach.
The movement to reform prisons is almost as old as prisons themselves. But what is the ultimate goal of reform of a system like the criminal justice system? On our New Thinking podcast, Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law explain why they think many of today's most popular reforms are extending, rather than countering, the justice system's harmful effects. Their new book is Prison By Any Other Name.
In this episode, Juan Areán is joined byJames Henderson, a former probation officer and facilitator of the Accountable Choices program in Michigan. They discuss howthe Abusive Partner Accountability and Engagement Project defines “accountability” and highlight examples of effective coordinated community responses and creating multiple pathways to accountability for abusive partners.