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Pretrial Innovations for Domestic Violence Offenders and Victims: Lessons From the Judicial Oversight Demonstration Initiative

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2007
15 pages
This report discusses how pretrial innovations for domestic violence cases were implemented in the three demonstration sites of the Judicial Oversight Demonstration Project, so as to increase victim safety while holding offenders accountable.
One of the major changes in pretrial court operations was the development of consistent and timely procedures for judges to use in handling pretrial matters in domestic violence cases. Another change was the restructuring of court processes so as to focus on the distinctive characteristics of domestic violence cases. A third change was the monitoring of defendants prior to trial and responding appropriately to violations of bond conditions. A fourth change involved linking victims to support services early in case processing. A number of lessons were learned in the course of making these changes. Judicial involvement and willingness to coordinate case procedures is important for ensuring consistency. Court processes must be restructured in order to enhance coordination among agencies that provide services relevant to domestic violence cases. Procedures must be developed for monitoring and/or educating defendants about the court's quick response to pretrial violations of non-contact orders and other bond conditions. Some of the challenges in implementing innovative pretrial procedures and practices for domestic violence cases are resource limitations that hinder staff expansion and training, developing and maintaining consistent judicial practices, balancing pretrial policies with due process requirements, and defining and coordinating the roles of various service providers. The three demonstration sites were Dorchester, MA; Milwaukee, WI; and Washtenaw County, MI. 4 notes and 9 additional resources

Date Published: August 1, 2007