Domestic Violence Affects Us All

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior by an intimate partner where the abuser exerts power and control over the victim. Domestic violence does not have to be physical violence. It also includes mental, economic, or sexual violence. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, or socio-economic background. Domestic violence also knows no age limits. Although the signs of abuse in older people can be similar to those seen in younger people, some signs may be unique to elders’ challenges. 

Domestic Violence in this country is pervasive. In fact, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. 15.5 million children in the United States live in families where domestic violence was perpetrated in the past year. 1,600 women were murdered by an abusive partner last year.

Domestic Violence Courts

New York State’s domestic violence Courts adjudicate criminal offenses involving intimate partners. Essential features of Domestic Violence Courts include a dedicated judge, specially trained staff, resource coordination, on-site victim advocacy, enhanced monitoring of defendants, and collaboration with technical assistance teams.

New York’s Domestic Violence Courts have been developed as part of the justice system’s coordinated domestic violence response. Dedicated to enhancing victim safety and holding offenders accountable, Domestic Violence Courts facilitate access to needed services, ensure intensive judicial monitoring and promote increased coordination among the court, community stakeholders, and victim services providers.

Integrated Domestic Violence Courts 

The Integrated Domestic Violence courts were created so that one judge could hear multiple criminals, family, and matrimonial disputes involving families where domestic violence is an underlying issue. Specifically, for a case to be eligible for Integrated Domestic Violence Court, a family must have a criminal domestic violence case as well as a family court case and/or a matrimonial case, where either – or both – the defendant and complaining witness in the criminal court case is also a party to the family or matrimonial case. The most common family court case types in Integrated Domestic Violence court are family offenses, custody or visitation, and matrimonial actions. While misdemeanors represent the bulk of criminal cases in Integrated Domestic Violence Court, Integrated Domestic Violence courts may take felony-level criminal cases as well.

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