Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Date of Defense

7-18-2013

Graduate Advisor

Kristin Carbone-Lopez

Committee

Richard Rosenfeld

Robert Bursik

Abstract

The domestic violence court evolved with the feminist movement. As women gained rights, domestic violence became perceived as a male domination issue, rather than a private family matter. The development of the courts was based on therapeutic jurisprudence, and feminist and deterrence theory. Research regarding domestic violence courts is largely based on the effectiveness of victim advocates and batterer intervention programs. There is little to no research regarding judicial perspectives of the domestic violence court. Through inductive analysis of interviews and court observations, I examined how judges perceive the effectiveness of the courts and their general knowledge of domestic violence. Findings indicated that veteran judges and novice judges perceive their roles differently, and have different foci related to the execution of domestic violence hearings. Further, judges perceive victim advocates and lawyers as positive aspects of domestic violence courts, but find weaknesses related to the roles of law enforcement and prosecution. From these findings, I draw implications for judicial training as well as possibilities for a coordinated community response.

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