Courts and Domestic Violence

I found an interesting article out of Kansas discussing the way domestic violence cases are treated.

Kansas is one of the states that has a law that says if an officer sees evidence of domestic violence they are required to make an arrest. But what happens after that point advocates say can differ from county to county. Prosecutors say that several factors can influence whether a case will go to court. Some of those influences are the back and forth nature of the relationships, the ‘potential’ for intimidation of the victim, and a law that requires police to make arrests whether the case is strong enough to prosecute or not.

Records show that in 2005 in Douglas County there were more than 300 arrests made for domestic battery. Only 146 of those cases made it to court. Of those 146 cases about 1/3 ended up being dismissed. One prosecutor said that there must be something wrong with that number, as he has already filed almost that many in the first 6 mos. of this year.

At least one advocate indicated that she felt that some areas were still treating DV as a relationship issue that needed to be dealt with privately and more of an interpersonal issue than crime. At least one prosecutor has admitted that they may not be adept at handling these types of cases yet, and that part of the problem may be that the traditional courts are not set up to deal with these types of issues but that some areas have set up domestic violence courts.  And at least one prosecutor made this statement:  “There are cases where we will see that it is in the best interests of the state and the victim to not proceed with the case — that there have been enough remedial measures put into place that we feel it isn’t appropriate to go forward,” he said. “If you look at property crime or other person crimes, you’re not dealing with an ongoing relationship of people. … If the continued prosecution of the matter has the effect of destroying a good or a viable relationship that somebody made mistakes during, that’s contrary to our goals.”

Although this article is out of Kansas, I am not really pointing at any one state or county. Many states and counties in the country have the problems and issues.

Many places have attempted to resolve the problems by setting up special courts to deal with domestic violence cases. Domestic violence courts are able to work with the victims closer, and often are better at involving the domestic violence agencies. And by specializing they become more acclimated to the special needs and issues in a domestic violence case. But not all areas have the means for a special court. I believe some areas may solve that by providing an advocate to go to court with the victims. But in some areas that is left up to the domestic violence agencies- and they don’t always give referrals to the domestic violence agencies or stress the need for it.

Still in my opinion, if a prosecutor is going to make a judgement on whether or not to prosecute a case or a judge is going to sit in judgement on a case- whether it is domestic violence or my other pet peeve- sexual abuse- you would think they would make the effort to educate themselves about the issues involved. They are specialized crimes, and they do have special issues that need to be addressed…. in court as well as in the community and with law enforcement

It is an excellent article and I encourage everyone to read it.



  1. wendy said,

    September 1, 2006 at 2:38 am

    See now there’s the problem, folks. Let’s all pretend that we’re a society with zero tolerance for domestic violence and in some areas even go as far as to establish dedicated domestic violence courtrooms. However, let’s not bother to train anyone or heaven forbid, do I dare suggest that a prosecutor or Judge presiding in a domestic violence court take some initiative and educate themselves on the issue.

    I find it mind blowing that the gentleman in the artice didn’t hesitate to make such and ignorant statement such as proceeding with the case could potentially hurt a relationship that otherwise would be okay except for one indiscretion, so to speak. This person really needs some education and training and the DA’s office over there might want to see to it that the education occurs ASAP.

  2. September 1, 2006 at 7:26 am

    They don’t seem to get the message do they? Usually there has been one or more incidents of abuse prior to police being called. And that if handled correctly the first time, it could prevent any further abuse. If they lost control once, then they could likely benefit with some anger management/domestic violence counseling to help learn to get back into control. But if they feel they got by with it once, they are more likely to do it again.

  3. December 16, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Ha… this is actually pretty decent 🙂 By: Sitesell Scam

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