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IDV Courts
Key Principles
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 defined below.


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Jurisdiction
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.


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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.


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Case Identification
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.).


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Court Calendaring
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.


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Legal Representation
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.


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Judicial 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.


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Judicial 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 field.


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Technology
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.


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Courthouse Safety
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.


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Confidentiality
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.


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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.


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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.


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Web page updated: August 3, 2006 - www.NYCOURTS.gov