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The presence of firearms in an abusive relationship is one of the greatest dangers to victims, elevating the risk of intimate partner homicide by nearly five times. In this section, judges will find information on how they can effectively respond to domestic violence cases involving firearms, including procedures for removing firearms from domestic violence offenders and protection order respondents under federal and state law.

Enhancing Judicial Leadership Skills in Domestic Violence Cases: Action Planning

Facilitated by: Jennifer Arsenian, NCJFCJ and Danielle Pugh-Markie, CCI

As part of the JEN Fellowship Program, you will be action planning your project and working to implement those plans. This webinar will help provide assistance in completing your action plan.

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History and Evolution of Batterers Intervention Program Work

Presented by Melissa Scaia, MPA

This webinar reviews the history and evolution of batterers intervention program work to utilizing videoconference technology. 

Facilitating Difficult Conversations

Presented by: Hon. Ramona Gonzalez La Cross County Circuit Court, Jennifer White Futures Without Violence, and Aaron Polkey Futures Without Violence

As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Assess their own skills, challenges, and potential triggers in facilitating difficult conversations;
  • Apply fundamental elements of effective facilitation to their interactions with colleagues, learners, and other stakeholders; and
  • Practice key aspects of emotional intelligence in navigating difficult conversations.

Leadership from the Bench: Cyberviolence and Tech Abuse in Domestic Violence Cases

Presented by: Hon. Carroll Kelly, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade County Domestic Violence Division, Hon. Julie Kunce Field, Eighth Judicial District in Fort Collins, Colorado, Ian Harris, JD, M

Those attending this webinar will be better able to:

  • Identify the prevalence and impact of cyberstalking and tech abuse
  • Identify tech abuse best practices for judges
  • Improve access to justice for cases that involve tech abuse

Dekalb County Magistrate Court Specialized Compliance Project

After a 12-month protective order is issued, respondents are required to enroll in a state-certified family violence intervention program. The court also has a relationship with DeKalb Workforce Development and the Georgia Department of Labor that allows respondents to enroll in their job search program with weekly progress reports sent to the court’s compliance officer. Additionally, the court maintains a list of community resources, including housing and social service providers. Hear how Judge Berryl Anderson created this specialized docket.

Milwaukee County Probation Review Hearings

In 1999, three jurisdictions—Dorchester District in Boston, Massachusetts; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; and Washtenaw County, Michigan— embarked on an ambitious effort to improve criminal justice and community responses to domestic violence. The Judicial Oversight Demonstration (JOD) Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women and managed by the Vera Institute of Justice, brought together in each site judges and defense attorneys and prosecutors, advocates for women and batterer intervention specialists, probation agents, police, and others to develop new ways to enhance victim safety and the oversight of offenders in their communities. Hear how Judge Jeffrey Kremers used judicial leadership to implement probation review hearings in Milwaukee County.

The New Hampshire Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee (DVFRC)

The DVFRC was created in 1999 by Executive Order. The Committee was established as part of the Governor's Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, originally created in 1993, to provide systemic review of domestic violence homicides in order to reduce the number of future fatalities. The Committee attempts to identify high risk factors, current practices, gaps in system responses and barriers to safety in domestic violence situations related to the death. This results in recommendations aimed at improving systematic responses in an effort to prevent similar deaths in the future. The Committee provides the recommendations to the participating agencies and asks them to take actions consistent with their own mandates. The Committee publishes the recommendation and the agency responses to those recommendations in an Annual Report.Hear how Judge Susan Carbon used judicial leadership to help create the DVFRC.

Children's Safe Harbor Neutral Exchange Center

Children's Safe Harbor provides a neutral place for families to use when exchanging children for parenting times. The neutral exchange site offers safety and manages potential conflict when parents are exchanging their children for regular parenting time. Hear how Judge Rosemary Collins used judicial leadership in her community to create this important resource for individuals coming before the court on parenting cases involving domestic violence.

Dedicated Family Court Judge in Newly Created New Orleans' New Family District Court

Hear how Judge Bernadette D'Souza paved the way for dedicated judges in a newly created family district court in order to ensure that judges have the experience and training to handle complicated domestic violence cases appropriately and consistently.

Cultural Responsiveness Training for Domestic Violence Bench in Whatcom County, Washington

Presented by: Hon. Raquel Montoya-Lewis

Hear how Judge Montoya-Lewis, the first Native American Judge appointed to Superior Court in her county, revised the domestic violence curriculum for the State Judicial College to include cultural responsiveness, bias, privilege and oppression and the ways in which these important topics impact the way the court is processing and responding to domestic violence cases.

What Judges Need to Know about Domestic Violence in the Transgender Community

Presented by: Prof. Todd Brower of the Williams Institute and Judge Elizabeth Berns

This webinar addresses the dynamics of domestic violence in transgender relationships, transgender culture, tactics of control, and effective judicial response to trans survivors. This webinar also includes information on elevated vulnerability factors for trans litigants, including suicidality.

What Judges Need to Know about Domestic Violence in the LGBTQ Community

Presented by: Prof. Todd Brower of the Williams Institute and Judge Elizabeth Berns

This webinar addresses some of the fundamentals about LGBTQ domestic violence, tactics of abuse, and proper judicial engagement with LGBTQ litigants.

Firearms and Domestic Violence: Effective Court Response Part I

Presented by: HON. STEVEN AYCOCK, AND NANCY HART, JD

The presence of firearms in a domestic violence case drastically raises the risk of lethality for female victims of domestic violence. Participants in this webinar will explore the many reasons why knowledge of federal firearms law is critical information for judges. Participants will review the structure of federal firearms rules affecting domestic violence offenders and analyze the most current United States Supreme Court cases on this issue. Topics of discussion will include Henderson v. United States, Castleman v. United States, law enforcement exceptions to federal firearms prohibitions, third party transfers of firearms by convicted offenders, and lethality.

Firearms and Domestic Violence: Effective Court Response Part II

Presented by: HON. STEVEN AYCOCK, AND NANCY HART, JD

NCJFCJ's Judge-in-Residence, Steven Aycock, and Senior Program Attorney, Nancy Hart, present an interactive discussion on effective ways courts can respond to domestic violence cases involving firearms. Around the country, courts are struggling with the practicalities of identifying domestic violence cases where firearms are present, verifying legitimate and safe transfers to third parties, and seizing and storing firearms owned by domestic violence offenders. This webinar builds on a previous discussion of federal laws related to domestic violence and firearms, but can be viewed independently by anyone wanting to learn more about best practices surrounding this complex issue. Faculty will discuss effective examples from around the country, work through case scenarios, and field questions from participants. This exciting webinar was designed for judges and court officials and was offered by the NCJFCJ, and the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence.

Domestic Violence and Court Community Engagement: Serving Community Needs Through a Coordinated Response

Presenters: Hon. Susan B. Carbon, Concord, NH and Hon. Rosemary Collins, Winnebago County, IL

While the specifics of Coordinated Community Response (CCR) programs vary across communities, the premise is that coordination and integration of criminal justice, human services, and advocacy responses to domestic violence should reduce its occurrence. Community engagement enables all stakeholders to better serve the people with whom they work, and tackling the issue of domestic violence requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Courts have the ability to assist in improving interagency communications.

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  • Opens in new windowVoisine Case Update

    This case update was published by the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence on Voisine v. United States, a United States Supreme Court case addressing firearms, sentencing, and the interplay between intent and the elements of domestic violence. In Voisine, the United States Supreme Court considered how types of intent, including recklessness, knowledge and intentional conduct, can affect the definition of a domestic violence offense that triggers a lifetime prohibition under federal law. In this case update, judges can read more about how these important federal provisions are interpreted and applied.