Federal grant to help with domestic abuse court

Published 1:48 am Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Washington County Chancery Court will use a $172,609 federal grant to develop a domestic abuse court.

The grant came from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

“The ultimate aim is to reduce the incidence of domestic violence in this area,” said Chancellor Marie Wilson.

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“People have been killed as a result of domestic abuse. We just felt like it needed to be addressed in a different way. Obviously what we are doing was not working,” Wilson said.

Federal officials said the grant is to help the chancery court improve the handling of domestic violence, date violence and stalking cases.

Wilson said she would expect the new court to accept referrals of victims and defendants from local municipal, justice, county and circuit courts.

She said it would assess the needs of the victim and the accused offender, help both sides get legal representation, refer them to counseling and a behavior modification program, and monitor their progress.

“We are hoping to reduce recidivism,” Wilson said. “We are hoping that through this process, they will be less likely to repeat this behavior. We are talking about behavior modification.”


Information on domestic abuse courts from the National Center for State Courts, http://www.ncsc.org

DOJ Office of Domestic Violence Against Women, http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/court-training.htm