DeKalb County Open House Explores Domestic Violence Issues

With support from the Office on Violence Against Women, the Magistrate Court of DeKalb County, Georgia and Center for Court Innovation hosted a two-day open house September 23-24 on domestic violence. Bringing together judges, experts, and court staff from across the country, the open house delved into the urgent questions and challenges facing domestic violence practitioners and courts today.

Experts from the Center for Court Innovation, Center for Survivor Agency and Justice, and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges led panels that discussed a variety of issues. On the first day, judges from the Magistrate Court presented an overview of their court model and experience. A panel led by Liberty Aldrich, director of Domestic Violence Programs at the Center for Court Innovation, explored the relationship between economic security and domestic violence, identifying the court’s role in working with both victims and defendants to overcome financial obstacles. The panel highlighted the Magistrate Court’s efforts to link defendants with local workforce development programs, encouraging audience members to establish similar connections in their jurisdictions. Hon. Janice Rosa, retired Erie County Supreme Court judge and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges consultant, talked about the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and led a discussion on the ways in which a domestic violence court can safeguard children.

altIn addition to panel discussions, participants were able to tour a local supervised visitation center, Nia’s Place, as well as the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, where they learned about best practices for supervised visitation. They also visited the Magistrate Court, heard from court staff, and observed the court’s proceedings. Chief Magistrate Judge Berryl A. Anderson (at left) said, “We were extremely honored that our court was chosen to host this open house. Domestic violence is a problem affecting thousands of DeKalb county residents each year. This court is constantly seeking solutions to improve access to the court for those affected.”

The Domestic Violence Open House gave participants the opportunity to share their experiences, discuss best practices, and identify ways in which to strengthen their courts. Furthermore, it was an important forum for dialogue among leading practitioners and experts in domestic violence.

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