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Specialization of Domestic Violence Case Management in the Courts: A National Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
87 pages
This report provides basic information on the scope and variety of specialized processing for domestic violence cases in courts across the country; current practice is related to the views of court practitioners and domestic violence professionals about the structural components and resources needed to manage and adjudicate domestic violence cases effectively.
The information in this report derives from 3 sources: the responses of 103 courts to a written questionnaire; telephone interviews with representatives of 82 of these courts; and a modified Delphi study with a panel of 27 professionals, including judges and court managers in courts that use specialized processes for managing and adjudicating domestic violence cases as well as other noted domestic violence experts and practitioners. The findings indicate that court specialization for domestic violence caseloads is in its initial stages of development. Although the concept of specializing court structures and operations for domestic violence courts is gaining momentum, the court community has yet to develop and test models based on a shared vision about the goals of domestic violence courts. The most common reasons courts cite for implementing specialized processes for domestic violence cases are improved assistance to victims, enhanced victim safety, and increased batterer accountability. In the majority of courts, however, these goals are not supported by the key services and practices needed for survivor safety and batterer accountability. Nevertheless, knowledge of the variation and prevalence of different structures and practices can inform judgments about future program implementation and provide a foundation for future comparative evaluation. 55 references, 18 figures, and appended case management features of 103 courts and survey data

Date Published: January 1, 2000