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Special Session Domestic Violence Courts: Enhanced Advocacy and Interventions, Final Report Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2002
13 pages
Publication Series
Focusing on a special session of domestic violence courts, this report describes women’s experiences with enhanced services and advocacy.
Addressing women’s experiences with enhanced domestic violence services and advocacy, this report discusses a special session of domestic violence courts. After describing the in-depth interviews conducted with 12 specialized community–based family violence victim advocates working at 3 special session courts, the data from an automated family violence victim service record, and the interviews with 60 women whose partners had been arrested for domestic violence and abuse used in this study, the author presents the findings of this research. Arguing that women cite “being heard” as the most important issue in cases of domestic abuse, this report describes police and advocates as key to women’s experience of legal system interventions and maintains that women’s experiences and decisions are strongly influenced by their concerns for the needs of their children. Furthermore, this study found that many women interviewed did not consider domestic violence to be the most important issue with which they were faced, that women’s assessment of their risks often changed while the domestic violence case was argued in court, that language and culture contributed to differences in the experiences of Latina victims of domestic abuse, and that many women did not want to end the relationship with their partners, although they wanted the abuse to end. After characterizing the 60 women interviewed as 42 percent African-American, 37 percent Caucasian, and 18 percent Latina, the author discusses that a majority of the women interviewed had placed calls to the police at the time of a domestic violence incident. Following a discussion of negative and positive aspects of the court experience, the author concludes that the use of independent advocates provides the most important support to victims of domestic abuse, throughout the court process. 4 Exhibits

Date Published: October 1, 2002