Court Responses to Domestic Violence

Sarah J. McLean, University at Albany

Currently, states recognize that a coordinated community response is crucial to ensure domestic violence victim safety and offender accountability. Magistrates, the decision-makers in local town and village courts in New York State, are the cornerstones in a coordinated community response to domestic violence in rural New York.

This paper reports findings from a qualitative study based on face-to-face interviews with rural magistrates in upstate New York. The paper will explore the courts response to domestic violence and how judicial attitudes and decision-making styles explain case processing and the repercussions for victim safety and offender accountability. After describing the court responses, the paper will discuss how training effots and policies can be modified to effectively reach rural magistrates.

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Updated 05/20/2006