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Because of the current increase in the forms of crimes, there have been many cases that need to be cleared in courts. The entire population involved cannot be accommodated in our jails and cells; therefore, there has been the introduction of a new policy that caters for petty cases that happens in the society (Champion, Hartley & Rabe, 2012). The research also indicates there is growth in the probation since 1980 leading to serious implications for special court agencies in dealing with the workload and caseload decisions.
Domestic courts represent a wider range of special issue that occurs in a society that include partner violence in the family, general civil, juvenile and criminal proceedings. The courts were started for the purpose of responding to a domestic violence in the estates but in the current world, the special courts have expanded their functions to provide more benefit to the society. The term domestic violence refers to those special courts that are given responsibility to hear and solve issues regarding whether a judicial officer have received those cases exclusively or either they are part of the mixed assignment (Wiener & Brank, 2013). Domestic violence courts are divided into different units that include; case assignment unit, screening, intake and case processing, and the final stage include the services provision and monitoring unit.
In handling the domestic cases, the violence matter, courts may merge to have the civil and criminal domestic violence cases on one table, or they may decide to solve the case in different calendars.
Experience– Since all the involved domestic violence are solved by same group of prosecutors and judges, the expertise are able to gain more knowledge and skills that are required in handling of such cases. Therefore, the expertise become more sensitive while handling the issues of the victims and thus direct them to become an additional resources to the community (Champion, Hartley & Rabe, 2012). The experience they get can help them to solve more cases thus reducing the case load in the system and thus helping the partners from abandoning the case because of the delay.
The judges or the prosecutors in the system may have consistently dealt with same cases that involve domestic violence to certain offenders and thus having more detailed information that may help to provide better guideline to the needs of the victim. Correspondingly, the system helps in recording these cases, and this may discourage such situations to happen again as the offender may fear to be imposed with future penalties that may be of higher charges (Wiener & Brank, 2013). In addition, the system help reduces domestic violence in the society as the individuals or victim may fear to face the same judges or prosecutor where they may be in a position to deny the violence.
Convenient–Some people support the system of combining the civil and the criminal jurisdiction in the same court. Some people argue that applying such approach, it may allow the victims to get their needs at one place (Lazarus-Black, 2007). The court can allow the victims to testify for the prosecution in one proceeding thus enhancing the accessibility of the court.
Independent domestic violence advisers–In most of these domestic courts have special IDVAs that works with government initiatives to provide targeted professional support to those involve with high risk of domestic violence. They mainly use their resources to those victims at great risk of harm. The independent domestic violence advisors work right from the point of crisis or emergency, assess the victim’s risk and evaluate the risk that the victim have experienced. The department is trained to understand the value and the necessary requirement of information sharing (Wiener & Brank, 2013). The information gathered is very necessary to some of the organizations that conferences to educate people on domestic violence.
Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) – The domestic courts also have a team of Sexual Violence Advisors that provide special packages of advice to the victims of sexual, violent crime. The advisors are specialized in providing essential services to the victims, counseling and also ensuring that the safety of the victim is implemented across all the involved party. For instance, those who report domestic cases may be threatened by the offenders, in such cases the ISVAs work together with the other security involved in the community (Champion, Hartley & Rabe, 2012).
Satisfying victims and offenders–Research indicates that in most cases, both parties comes into reconciliation as the people in the domestic violence courts are train to with special skills and knowledge to guide and develop a long-term solution to the victims (Erez, 2000).
One of the major problems facing these types of courts is the challenge of biasness. Since the cases are handling by same judges and prosecutors, they tend to make their final decisions in a biased manner. The idea creates a platform for negligence and abuse. To reduce such cases, the language of “victim” in this system should be changed to “complaint” in order to reduce the decision-making bias. The system should also have specialized judges and prosecutors who can lead to increase the quality of decision making. This can be achieved by increasing training to the involved body.
Champion, Richard D. Hartley, Gary A. Rabe. (2012). Criminal Courts: Structure, Process, and Issues. Pearson Education.
Erez, E. (2000). Immigration, culture conflict and domestic violence/woman battering. Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal 2 (2), 17-21.
Lazarus-Black, M. (2007). Everyday harm: Domestic violence, court rites, and cultures of reconciliation. Urbana, Ill: Univ. of Illinois Press.
Wiener, R. L., & Brank, E. M. (2013). Problem solving courts: Social science and legal perspectives. New York, NY: Springer.