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There are a variety of publications available which can help both new and experienced judges address domestic violence and sexual assault in their jurisdictions. In this section, judges can download benchbooks, articles, guides, forms, and other information useful to courts and judicial officers.



Florida Domestic Violence Benchbook

Georgia Domestic Violence Benchbook

Indiana Benchbooks

Michigan Judicial Institute Benchbooks

New Mexico Domestic Violence Benchbook

Ohio Domestic Violence Benchbook

Texas Family Violence Benchbook

West Virginia Domestic Violence Benchbook


  • Opens in new windowSustaining the Change: Lessons Learned from Judicial Leaders

    The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ (NCJFCJ) think tank series brings judges together to share knowledge and provide insights on issues of relevance to court improvement and collaborative systems change. The judges invited to participate in think tanks are former and current Model Court Lead Judges. These national judicial leaders have considerable experience leading system-wide collaborative stakeholder teams to design and implement program, practice, and policy changes to improve outcomes for children and families involved in the foster care system. The NCJFCJ think tank series aims to tap into the wealth of the Lead Judges’ knowledge base and experience to provide a lessons learned resource to other jurisdictions engaged in collaborative court improvement efforts.

  • Opens in new windowVoices from the Bench: Judicial Perspectives on Handling Child Sex Trafficking Cases

    Domestic Child Sex Trafficking (DCST) is a form of human trafficking and a complex problem in the United States. DCST refers to the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a minor for the purpose of a commercial sex act. Historically, the juvenile justice system has viewed and treated survivors of DCST as delinquent youth. However, as courts have learned about the risk factors of early childhood trauma and adolescent brain development, they have started to respond to trafficked children as victims, not criminals. Courts across the country are implementing victim-centered approaches to exploited and trafficked children. Some jurisdictions have created specialty DCST (also referred to as Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children or CSEC) courts, while others have modified court practices and implemented trauma-informed and responsive protocols.

  • Opens in new windowJudicial Awareness of Resilience in Family Court: Some Initial Considerations

    This is the second in a series of technical assistance briefs on resilience by the Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody (RCDV:CPC), a project of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). The first brief focused on clarifying and refining the concept of resilience, provided an overview of the research on this important topic, and offered some initial considerations as courts attempt to reinforce resilience further in applicable cases. Much of the first brief focused on issues particularly relevant to child abuse and neglect proceedings, and that remains the case in this brief. However, this brief will also touch upon how the topic of resilience applies, to a limited extent, in some custody and divorce matters, and emphasize the importance of family court judges becoming even more aware of how courts are considering resilience or protective factors even though, in cases like custody and divorce, direct application of these factors may not be standard or may be quite different.

  • Opens in new windowCollateral Consequences of Juvenile Court Involvement: Obstacles to Opportunities

    This bench card, created in partnership by the NCJFCJ and the National Juvenile Defender Center and funded by the State Justice Institute, is intended to assist judges in considering the consequences of juvenile court involvement that may adversely affect public safety and positive youth development. The bench card is not intended to impinge upon or alter constitutional or statutory responsibilities of the court. Judges and attorneys have different ethical responsibilities but share the goal of ensuring that youth are acting knowingly and voluntarily when admitting or pleading to an offense.

  • Opens in new windowCivil Protection Order Process: Considerations for Safe and Effective Responses by Courts to the COVID-19 Pandemic

    The guidance is intended to assist judicial officers and courts as they design creative and effective solutions to the problems imposed by the COVID-19 emergency. In addition to describing how judicial officers can assume a leadership role in promoting a collaborative response to the pandemic, this document provides examples of concrete strategies that courts and communities can implement to maximize the accessibility and effectiveness of the CPO system despite the impediments.

  • Opens in new window5 Ways Juvenile and Family Court Judges Can Use Public Health Data and Resources to Address Substance Use Disorders
    Juvenile and family court judges are leaders and conveners in their communities. Judges need information (data) to accomplish varied activities in their roles – from making individual-level decisions about evidence-based services to convening stakeholder groups that are able to affect change in their jurisdictions. Juvenile and family court judges use data about their jurisdiction, such as rates on permanency, victimization, substance use disorders (SUDs), and overdoses. However, judges may lack guidance regarding how their data compares to other national public health data. This added layer of analysis and comparison can be useful to judges in their roles as leaders and conveners, especially when addressing substance use in their communities. In this technical assistance bulletin are five ways judges can use national data and resources to improve policy and practice.
  • Opens in new windowRedefining Judicial Leadership: Stories of Transformative Practice

    Through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) funding, the Implementation Sites Project was developed to replicate the infrastructure pioneered by the National Council of Juvenile and Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Model Courts Project. Designated sites have committed to develop and implement a judicially-led collaborative seeking to implement system reform efforts to improve the child abuse and neglect case process with the goal of improving safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children. These sites strive to adhere to, and implement, all aspects of the best practices outlined in the Enhanced Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases while adopting the Key Principles of Permanency Planning for Children


  • Can I or Can't I? Extra-judicial Activity and Judicial Leadership

    Being a judge doesn’t end when the docket does. Experienced judges understand their duties include much more than overseeing a courtroom. A significant part of a judicial officer’s duties also includes leadership in the community, committee participation, meetings with stakeholders, and ensuring access to justice. Many judges also find time to visit schools, work with youth groups, speak at law-related organizations, or volunteer with mock trial teams. Much of this work takes place off the bench, and sometimes, outside of regular work hours. In this area, you will find resources and information that can help you find opportunities to engage in meaningful work to help support domestic violence and sexual assault response in your community.

  • Civil Protection Orders – Guide Book Website

    Court-issued civil protection orders provide domestic violence victims with important options while influencing batterers to stop the abuse. An integrated and consistent protection order system that coordinates issuing, serving, and enforcing court orders promotes victim safety and helps save lives. The NCJFCJ recognizes that an effective civil protection order system relies upon the interplay and interdependence of each profession’s work; judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, civil attorneys, and others. We seek to increase the capacity of communities, courts, judges, and related professionals to enhance victim safety and offender accountability through effective protection order practices.