TUCSON CITY COURT IS AWARDED A GRANT TO ESTABLISH A SPECIALIZED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTby Hot Off The Press (Release) on Nov. 01, 2012, under Press Releases
Monique Lopez, Marketing & Events Coordinator
Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse
Phone: 520.795.8001 x. 7023; Fax: 520.795.1559
TUCSON CITY COURT IS AWARDED A GRANT TO ESTABLISH A SPECIALIZED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT
(Tucson, AZ) October 30, 2012
Developing a coordinated community response to domestic violence is crucially important to reducing violence in our community. In fiscal year 2009, the Tucson City Court—which has jurisdiction over all criminal misdemeanors and protective orders that occur within the city limits—processed 4,104 charges of domestic violence, in 2010 4,000 charges, and in 2011, a total of 3,685 charges. The court has also handled 4,499 protective order applications in the last three years. It has the second largest caseload of all municipals courts in the State of Arizona.
Research shows that specialized domestic violence courts are associated with decreased reoffending. These courts are associated with beneficial reforms in several areas, including victim safety, offender accountability and more efficient case-flow processing.To that end Tucson City Court has applied for and was awarded a grant from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women to establish a specialized Domestic Violence Court. This grant will allow the court, specifically Judge Million, to dedicate 1-2 days a week to a Domestic Violence Court calendar, and additional time for training and planning. All of the Court staff involved will be trained in the dynamics of domestic violence.
Another issue that the grant will help with is providing better access to services for Tucson’s deaf and hearing impaired population. Tucson is home to the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, a K-12 school. Deaf, deaf-blind, and hearing impaired children from all over the state attend the school. Within the city of Tucson it is estimated that over 10,000 rely on American Sign Language for communication.
The project also seeks to improve safety and autonomy for victims who seek protective orders. Any safety practices that are adopted for DV Court will also be adopted for protective order hearings. A victim’s advocate from Emerge! will be available at court hearings for the victims who do come to court and who choose to speak to someone.
- Increase offender accountability through effective judicial monitoring of these cases.
- Increase the effectiveness and empowerment of Tucson City Court’s Probation Unit through the allocation of additional resources and training.
- Increase the number of offenders who successfully complete their probationary terms.
- Decrease recidivism, thereby working towards making the victims safer.
- Increase the court’s responsiveness to victims, by providing more access to services, swifter intervention in cases where offenders are violating court orders, and increased safety in the courthouse environment.
- Educate other judges, court staff and attorneys about the dynamics of domestic violence, lethality factors, so that these factors can be considered in release decisions, protective order decisions and sentencing.
- Provide a framework that allows the Tucson Police Department to provide the court with more information directly from the scene of a domestic violence arrest.
- Improve access to the court system and victim’s services to deaf and hard of hearing victims of domestic violence.
- Train selected ASL interpreters in the dynamics of domestic violence.
- Educate the deaf community about the dynamics of domestic and teen dating violence.
- Hold deaf batterers accountable while sending them to services that are appropriate and meaningful in the context of their community.
The project calls on several agencies in addition to Tucson’s City Court. These include Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, Community Outreach Program for the Deaf, Tucson Police Department, Pima County Superior Court Adult Probation Department, the Tucson City Prosecutor’s office and the Office of the City Public Defender.
Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse (www.emergecenter.org) in Tucson, Arizona, is dedicated to stopping the cycle of domestic abuse by providing a safe environment and resources for victims and survivors of all types of abuse on their journey toward healing and self-empowerment. Established in April 2008 as a result of the merger between the Tucson Centers for Women and Children (founded in 1975) and the Brewster Center Domestic Violence Services (founded in 1963), Emerge! operates two emergency shelters in addition to providing crisis intervention, individual and group support, life skills development, prevention, a community-based childcare center and community education.