District Court Domestic Violence Services

Legislative Background

In 1991,The legislature included the following findings in a bill addressing the subject of domestic violence:
"The collective costs to the community for domestic violence include the systematic destruction of individuals and their families, lost lives, lost productivity, and increased health care, criminal justice, and social service costs. Children growing up in violent homes are deeply affected by the violence as it happens and could be the next generation of batterers and victims. Many communities have made headway in addressing the effects of domestic violence and have devoted energy and resources to stopping this violence. However, the process for breaking the cycle of abuse is lengthy. No single system intervention is enough in itself. An integrated system has not been adequately funded and structured to assure access to a wide range of services, including those of the law/safety/justice system, human service system, and health care system. These services need to be coordinated and multidisciplinary in approach and address the needs of victims, batterers, and children from violent homes.

Given the lethal nature of domestic violence and its effect on all within its range, the community has a vested interest in the methods used to stop and prevent future violence. Clear standards of quality are needed so that perpetrator treatment programs receiving public funds or court-ordered referrals can be required to comply with these standards. While incidents of domestic violence are not caused by perpetrator's use of alcohol and illegal substances, substance abuse may be a contributing factor to domestic violence and the injuries and deaths that result from it. There is a need for consistent training of professionals who deal frequently with domestic violence or are in a position to identify domestic violence and provide support and information. Much has been learned about effective interventions in domestic violence situations; however, much is not yet known and further study is required to know how to best stop this violence."