Integrated Domestic Violence Courts Are Saving Lives

New York was one of the first states in the country to streamline family issues by introducing Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) courts. These courts follow the policy of one family, one judge, where all family court cases are overseen by the same judge. Not only are the IDV courts more efficient, but they help assist judges in making better-informed decisions.

First Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) court in Canada

In 2011, Canada introduced its first IDV court in Toronto as a way to curb the domestic violence problems in the city while providing better safety to abused family members. Take the case of Julie Craven, from Ontario, who was beaten and nearly killed by her estranged ex-husband, Andrew Osidacz. While one court ordered that Osidacz stay away from Julie, another judge in a custody hearing granted him unsupervised custody of their eight-year-old son. Osidacz ended up brutally murdering their son, Jared, with a knife before he attempted to kill Julie.

People like Julie and Jared are often left vulnerable in a legal system where judges are not well-informed about a particular defendant. Had one judge presided over the entire case, he or she would know that Andrew Osidacz was dangerous and unstable, and unfit to be around his son and ex-wife.

Because of their effectiveness, Integrated Domestic Violence courts are becoming popular across the United States. In March of 2016, Oklahoma opened its first Integrated Domestic Violence court in Tusla, making it the 22nd IDV court in the United States.

IDV in Syracuse

In Syracuse, New York, violent and abusive spouses are required to appear in Syracuse’s Domestic Violence Court.This court, one of the first in the country, is specially designed to handle crimes between family members and romantic partners. The Domestic Violence Court generally deals with misdemeanors like petty theft, assault, and trespassing. More serious crimes, like aggravated battery and murder, get sent up to Onondaga County Court. Cases that involve custody of children are immediately sent to Syracuse’s Integrated Domestic Violence court.

IDV in Brooklyn

In Brooklyn, New York, Integrated Domestic Violence courts have been helping families for over a decade. All cases, both criminal and civil, are seen by one judge if it involves domestic disputes. Since its inception, all cases involving domestic affairs have been transferred to the Integrated Domestic Violence court. By doing this, a huge burden has been lifted from county and magistrate courts, which have been able to free up much-needed space.

Stop Domestic Violence

Overall IDV Scope

Overall, Integrated Domestic Violence courts have proven to be helpful in protecting children and spouses who are victims of abuse. By assigning one judge to preside over all family cases that involve domestic abuse, a well-informed decision can be made by the court that puts the safety of the family foremost. Moreover, it allows unnecessary strain to be removed from other courts, which means that cases are able to be addressed in a timely manner. By virtue of having better-informed judges presiding over family cases, problematic offenders have a better chance of behind held accountable for their actions.