Domestic abuse courts: report

This report examines the effectiveness of Integrated Domestic Abuse Courts (IDACs) that use a ‘One Family, One Judge’ model.

Appendix 1: The New York IDVC components

From Picard Fritsche et al. (2011) available at:

Integrated Domestic Violence Court

Model Court Components

1. Jurisdiction

a. Jurisdiction of the IDV courts. Because the supreme court is the only trial-level court in New York State with jurisdiction over criminal cases, (civil) family court cases, and (civil) supreme court matrimonial actions, all IDV courts are created as supreme court parts, and are presided over by supreme court justices.

b. Jurisdiction of the IDV court Cases. Cases are governed by the substantive and procedural law of the courts in which they originated. The cases are not combined or consolidated in any legal sense.

c. Family Eligibility for IDV courts. Families are eligible for the IDV court if they have both a criminal domestic violence case and at least one family court or matrimonial case pending.

2. Planning, Staffing and Technical Assistance

a. Planning and Implementation. IDV courts should undergo a comprehensive sixmonth planning process, to be followed by a six-month implementation period.

b. Staffing. All IDV courts should be staffed by a supreme court justice; a court attorney/law clerk; and a dedicated courtroom clerk. IDV courts must also designate a staff person to liaise with community service providers; identify personnel to screen for eligible cases; and locate security personnel with training in domestic violence for the court room and offices.

c. Technical Assistance. Technical assistance to individual IDV courts is provided collaboratively by the then Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Court Operations and Planning and the Center for Court Innovation.

3. Case Identification and Screening and Court Calendaring

a. Case Identification and Screening. All IDV courts must develop procedures to screen cases in all three courts for eligibility, and transfer eligible families' cases to the IDV court part.

b. Court Calendaring. While IDV courts are expected to calendar all of a family's cases on a single day, it is recommended that each case type (criminal, family court, matrimonial) be called separately, with criminal cases being heard first. The courts are also asked to reserve a designated compliance monitoring calendar (meaning that all cases being monitored for compliance with court orders will be heard at once). Under the recommended model, although all of the family's cases are heard on the same day, they are not all heard consecutively. This separate calendaring is recommended in order to maintain the integrity of each individual case.

4. Legal Representation IDV courts are expected to "identify all potential sources of legal representation…and facilitate litigants' access to [them] (NYS Unified Court System 2004, p. 9)." However, "IDV courts do not create a right to counsel where none existed before"-that is, in the originating court.

5. Judicial Monitoring and Offender Accountability IDV courts are expected to develop protocols for supervising and monitoring offenders, preferably in collaboration with local Appendix A 42 departments of probation and service providers. Imposition of program mandates in criminal domestic violence cases is encouraged, as is the use of graduated sanctions and other proactive responses to non-compliance with court orders.

6. Judicial and Non-Judicial Training Judges, court staff and local agencies receive training on domestic violence, relevant legal issues and case law, and IDV court operations.

7. Technology IDV courts must enter data into all information systems used in individual cases' courts of origin, as well as into a specialized "IDV application" and the state Domestic Violence Registry.

8. Courthouse Safety In planning, IDV courts must address safety issues, including provision of security personnel and safe waiting areas.

9. Case Integrity, Confidentiality and Record Keeping Confidentiality requirements are the same as those of the case's originating court.

10. Domestic Violence Services IDV courts are expected to connect victims with advocacy as early in the court process as possible. Protocols should be developed to support existing victim-advocate relationships (i.e., relationships formed prior to the victim's transfer to the IDV court).

11. Use of Community Resources Collaboration with community providers in order to provide all parties with comprehensive services is recommended.

12. Assessment "IDV courts should consider evaluation a critical part of their mission (NYS Unified Court System 2004, p. 16)." All IDV courts participate in on-going data collection by the then Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Court Operations and Planning, and individual courts will be the subject of more in-depth evaluation by Center for Court Innovation research staff.



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