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Violence Against Women: Synthesis of Research for Judges

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2000
31 pages
Publication Series
This federally funded report presents an overview of findings on several topics of concern to judges and court administrators faced with changing expectations in their courts’ responses to violence against women.
Social and legal responses to violence against women underwent significant changes over the last three decades. However, not until much later, the late 1990's, did attention focus in on the courts. Judges and court administrators must now adapt their practices to changing objectives. Yet, they have few opportunities to learn about the problems and needs that created the changes. This report funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, synthesizes research findings on five topics facing judges and administrators in their response to violence against women. The topic areas include: (1) a brief outline of the historical antecedents to contemporary court policies and practices addressing violence against women; (2) a summary of what researchers have learned about those victims and offenders reaching the courts; (3) a review of research findings on the objective, impacts, and non-deliberate consequences of law reform; (4) a review of research findings on the objectives, impacts, and non-deliberate consequences of courthouse practices; and (5) a discussion of innovations and recommendations, highlighting where additional research and evaluation is needed. The challenge to the courts is to be cautious in their pretrial decisions and safeguard the rights of defendants but use discretion to protect victims and the community. Researchers, on the other hand, need to continue to learn about the impacts of these decisions and ensure that their findings are communicated to the judges and court administrators so they can be put into use. References

Date Published: December 1, 2000