Jurisdiction | Planning
& Technical Assistance | Case
Identification | Court Calendaring | Legal
Representation | Judicial
Monitoring & Offender Accountability | Judicial
& Non-judicial Training | Technology | Courthouse
Safety | Confidentiality | Domestic
Violence Services | Stakeholder
& Community Resources
The IDV Court Model is a synthesis of core principles
that have emerged based upon research, experience, best practices
and an analysis of the court system's current methods of addressing
domestic violence. The IDV Court model provides an opportunity
to address the myriad of inter-related family problems that
may bring a family into the court system in a comprehensive
manner while providing integrated service delivery and improving
both court efficiency and informed judicial decision-making.
The key components of the New York State IDV Court Model are
Each IDV Court should empower a single judge with the authority
to handle family, criminal and matrimonial matters. These
inter-related cases constitute the crux of the IDV Court's
jurisdiction. Criminal allegations of domestic violence
should form the threshold requirement for entry into the
IDV Court, with related cases in at least two of the three
areas of the law.
Planning and Technical Assistance
The planning process should include creating a local working
group of stakeholders and should culminate in the creation
of a "planning document" that will serve as a
guide to the new integrated court. IDV Courts should take
advantage of ongoing technical assistance during planning
and implementation to ensure consistency across the state.
IDV Courts need to create an administrative process through
which eligible cases will be identified. This process should
include searching New York State's Domestic Violence Registry
and each court's database at the earliest possible stage
(i.e. pre-arraignment, intake, etc.).
The IDV Court must develop protocols for identification
of eligible cases and ensure that these cases are moved
at the earliest stage from the originating part to the
IDV Court. Individual cases are not consolidated but retain
their distinct identities.
IDV Courts should work closely with representatives from
the legal stakeholder agencies (i.e. prosecutors, defense
attorneys, family court attorneys, law guardians, etc.)
in order to ensure representation for all litigants. IDV
Courts should be mindful of the availability of these legal
resources and should work creatively to assist stakeholders
in actively participating in the Court.
Monitoring, Offender Accountability
Judicial monitoring of offenders in both criminal and family
cases is a cornerstone of the IDV Court model. Offenders'
compliance with court mandated programs should be immediately
communicated to the judge in order to facilitate regular
and intensive judicial oversight.
and Non-judicial Training
Training and education for judges and non-judicial personnel
in the IDV Courts is an integral part of the Court's ability
to handle related family matters in a consistent and comprehensive
manner. Intensive domestic violence training will be provided
to the judges and court staff in order to keep all personnel
abreast of the latest research and best practices in the
Technology applications in an IDV Court can serve to ensure
that relevant information flows continuously, quickly and
reliably to and from the judge. Technology is also crucial
for tracking the results of the Court. In the past, the
Lotus Approach application enabled jurisdictions to log
in and track their own cases to capture basic data on individual
family units as well as information on each type of case
in the IDV Court. Currently, the Lotus Approach has been
replaced by the new IDV Application, which provides a unified
and comprehensive database that also captures important
information regarding services and compliance.
IDV Courts must provide a safe and secure environment in
which to adjudicate family related civil and criminal court
proceedings. Planners should reexamine existing security
plans and protocols to ensure that there are sufficient
security personnel who can identify and respond to potentially
volatile situations, safe waiting rooms for victims of
domestic violence and their children with access to services
and separate spaces for offenders.
IDV Courts must pay particular attention to the fact that
there are different information sharing rules and policies
for different types of cases. Care in ensuring appropriate
levels of confidentiality of court records and proceedings
must be maintained.
Domestic Violence Services
Victim safety is one of the primary goals of the IDV Court.
Each IDV Court should facilitate a victim's immediate access
to victim advocates who can provide safety planning, counseling,
and access to a multitude of social services.
Stakeholder and Community Resources
Each IDV Court should form relationships with a variety
of stakeholder agencies, organizations, and social service
providers. Interagency collaboration provides many benefits
including: increased communication and coordination of
services, improved levels of cooperation, and opportunities
for cross-training and feedback.