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New York StateUnified Court System

Domestic Violence

Key Principles

The New York State DV Court model provides a comprehensive approach and structured framework within which to adjudicate criminal domestic violence cases more efficiently. The model represents a synthesis of core principles that have emerged based upon research, experience, best practices and an analysis of the court system’s method of handling domestic violence cases. The eleven key components of the statewide model are discussed below.

Jurisdiction | Planning & Technical Assistance | Case Identification & Court Calendaring | Legal Representation | Judicial Monitoring & Offender Accountability | Judicial & Non-judicial Training | Technology | Courthouse Safety | Domestic Violence Services | Community Resources | Assessment


Domestic Violence Courts are established in local criminal courts and superior courts in New York State. The courts handle violation, misdemeanor and/or felony offenses as authorized in Criminal Procedure Law, Article 10, which involve persons:

  • currently or formerly involved in an intimate relationship, including same-gender couples;
  • legally married to one another;
  • formerly married to one another;
  • who have a child in common regardless of whether such persons have been married or have lived together at any time; and
  • related by consanguinity or affinity.
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Planning and Technical Assistance

DV Courts, with the aid of technical assistance teams, must engage in a structured six month planning and implementation process to ensure that each DV Court maintains a level of uniformity and operational consistency. The planning process begins with the creation of a court planning team. Planning requires outreach to local stakeholders in order to identify and address various issues and culminates in the creation of a planning document that serves as the guide for the court. Technical Assistance teams furnish ongoing assistance to planning teams in order to address comprehensively the legal, operational and technological needs of the court.

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Case Identification and Court Calendaring

DV Courts must work collaboratively with local law enforcement agencies (police agencies and district attorney offices) to create protocols and procedures to identify eligible cases at the earliest stage of the proceeding.

DV Courts should maintain separate calendars to monitor offender compliance with court orders. (See Judicial Monitoring below.)

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Legal Representation

DV Courts work collaboratively with the criminal defense bar, public defender organizations and the 18-B panel to ensure representation of all criminal defendants.

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Judicial Monitoring and Offender Accountability

DV Courts must develop protocols to facilitate regular and intensive judicial supervision and monitoring of defendants. Court planning teams work collaboratively with departments of probation and parole, as well as various social services programs to ensure that there is ongoing communication and that reports about defendant compliance with court mandated programs are sent to court in a timely fashion. Court responses to offender non-compliance should be both clear and consistent.

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Judicial and Non-judicial Training

Judges and non-judicial staff participate in statewide training and education programs delivered in three ways: (1) centralized DV orientation and follow-up training, (2) local site training and (3) training organized through Office of Court Administration's ("OCA") judicial educational seminars. These avenues ensure that the court receives continuing education in legal issues and procedures, social dynamics and available services. Morever, court personnel attend a comprehensive training program that addresses the need for expanded staff roles and responsibilities, a team-oriented approach to case management and working relationships with court agencies and outside organizations.

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DV Courts utilize existing technology for case identification, record keeping and statistical purposes. These tools can also assist the court in the collection of relevant information on all pending cases. Additionally, DV Courts may utilize the OCA specially-designed IDV Application to assist with the collection and biannual reporting of statistical data, as well as generate calendars.

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Courthouse Safety

DV Courts must comply with the Fair Treatment Standards for Crime Victims (Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts, Part 129) by providing a safe and secure environment in which to adjudicate domestic violence cases and protect victims and witnesses. Court planners ensure that (1) there is sufficient security personnel who are well trained in the area of domestic violence and who can identify and respond to potentially volatile situations, (2) there are clear and visible signs posted to direct litigants to needed services, (3) there is a safe waiting area that is staffed with an advocate(s) who can offer a panoply of services for victims of domestic violence and their children and (4) there is a separate space for offenders in order to avoid unwanted contact with victims. Additionally, planners should evaluate the quality of security services that are provided on a contractual basis to ensure that they meet the above requirements.

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Domestic Violence Services

DV Courts facilitate a victim’s immediate access to advocates who are available to provide safety planning, counseling and access to a range of social services. DV Courts partner with local independent domestic violence agencies to provide coordinated on-site advocacy services.

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Community Resources

DV Courts collaborate with service providers to ensure a coordinated community response and the identification of comprehensive services.

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DV Courts participate in statewide data collection so that reports can be created for local monitoring and assessment of designated benchmarks.

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Office of the Statewide Coordinating Judge for Family Violence Cases