Domestic Violence
Prof. Sarah M. Buel  -  2004/10/27
Our county allows attorneys acting as Judge Pro Tems to hearing the civil/family law DV Restraining Order hearings. Some of the Pro Tems really could use the same specialized judical training that judges get concerning the dynamics of DV and other issues. Is there a training that you are aware of that could be utilized by advocate/ trainers in offering the Pro Tems some specialized training in DV and particularly addressing the myriad of issues that come up at these hearings? Thank you.
1.  Dian
 I think we all know the need for more DV training within the courts. I have attend a large number of DV conferences and noted that they waive the fees for Judges. The try to get them to attend. And any mandated training on a legislative level meets strong opposition. With budget cuts on such large scale,the need for more training is imperative. I would like to see a good number of mandatory DV training required each year. I don't think anything less than 4 full days of training will be useful. I know a time constraint is important. So is the escalating number of long term DV cases going through our courts. Many of the long term cases escalate to stalking. DV often impacts three generations at one time. A parent or parents, children if they have any. The grandparents on each side and the children who will carry the DV into their own adult lives. As an Arbitrator and Mediator and one who has worked in the family court as a volunteer in the Restraining Order Clinic. I see more folks helping get restraining orders, but not enough intervention that I see COULD have taken place after the issue was filed our brought out in court. Forcing unequal parties into mediation is putting the victim at further risk
2.  Sarah Buel
 Yes, we ALL need training, but as you suggest, it is critical that those providing the training are diplomatic, knowledgeable,and credible. You can contact the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges (1-800-52-PEACE or to obtain complete information about their training curricula, suggested speakers, funding, etc. Your state coalition may also have some good resources.
What ideas do you have when working with prosecutors/judges/law enforcement who believe in arresting victims who are subpoenaed and do not show up for court to testify against their abusers? Yes, education is key, but how would you defend reasons why this is unethical? I’ve tried explaining about re-victimization and fear, but it feels like I’m speaking a different language. How else can I (we) approach this issue?
1.  jody
 This is obviously a controversial issue. In MN we recently had a case come down which seems to have effectively eliminated our prosecutors ability to proceed without the victim at least testifying (whether recantation or not) due to that *pesky* thing called the right to confrontation. So if all of our less intrusive means have been exhausted and it is truly a choice between trial and arresting the victim vs dismissal...we have chosen to request the warrant. Interestingly, after the most difficult one of these cases (details available if someone is interested) the victim filled out our survey and said she was satisfied with the process and the outcome (conviction with 5 yrs prison). I would welcome any ideas and comment. Thanks!
2.  Sarah Buel
 In 27 years of doing this work, I have learned that often it is not only what is being said, but who is saying it that matters. When speaking to law enforcement, I try to make sure I have an experienced, credible officer there to speak; with DA's, judges, etc. the same practice. I have also found that if the majority of my audience is male, they may hear the message better from a male speaker -- provided he is credible & diplomatic. A great resource for concise articles on this topic is the MINCAVA website at the U. of Minnesota, run by Prof. Jeffrey Edelson, Ph.D. Adult ed experts also remind me that often we need to hear things at least 11 times before they sink in, so your patience is laudable!
Hello, there. How can the AMBER ALERT system be made more effective? Does it work for all sorts of cases ...or does it have to be an actual "abduction"? Thanks!
1.  Sarah Buel
 I am not well versed in the Amber Alert System's many uses, but I know that here in Texas it has helped us find recently kidnapped children. You can call your state reps or senators to obtain more information or make suggestions about its expanded use.
Hello Professor Buehl, I would like to know.... (1) the current experience in case law about abusers being granted unsupervised visitation; granted custody and the affect of such ongoing interactions on children.
1.  Sarah Buel
 In 2001, we in Texas passed legislation, modeled after that in Louisian, establishing a presumption that, once the court makes a finding of family violence, the batterer will only be allowed supervised visits until meeting court requirement. Those may include successful completion of a batterer's intervention program, substance abuse treatment, etc. These statutes were based on the empirical research of several experts, such as Dr. Jeffrey Edelson and Dr. Peter Jaffe. You can download (free!) their materials from the mincava website I just referenced ( or google their names for a full list of their books and research documenting the adverse impact of children exposed to domestic violence being forced into visitation with the violent parent. You can also contact the Nat'l Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges Family Violence Dept. (1-800-52-PEACE or for additional information, as they are also the national resource center on DV and child protection.
Hi, Sarah! We are long-time fans of yours, so it is exciting to get a chance to talk with you...even if it is just over the Internet or on a discussion board! What is your position on using material witness warrants in domestic violence cases? I think I know what your answer will be, but this is something we are struggling with here in our county as our current prosecutor feels they can be a valid tool to use in some cases.
1.  Sarah Buel
 There was a time when I would have said NEVER use a material witness warrant, but I have used them when (1.) I thought a victim was in a life-threatening situation; and (2.) there was child at risk and Mom seemed in denial about the gravity of the danger. However, in using them, I made sure the officers neither hand-cuffed the victim, nor placed them in a jail cell on arrival at court. I believe they should be used VERY sparingly, and when used, that we explain to the victim why we are doing so: "Ma'am, I am trying my best to keep you alive and I need your help. What else can we do?"
Dear Prof. Buel, I lead batterer's intervention groups, have served as clinical director of a battered women's shelter, volunteered with the West LA LAPD as a victim counselor, and conduct research on domestic violence. I'm learning toward mandated counseling for both parents when there is domestic violence and the couple have children, more particularly for expectant couples and couples with very young children. This would be effective to decrease the intergenerational transmission of family violence. I strongly support criminal justice response to these incidents, but under existing practices, too many children fall through the cracks. What are your thoughts on this?
1.  Mary Ella Viehe
 The Orange County California Court of Judge Pamela Iles has instituted a similar program with attendance at 6 sessions mandated if a victim wants a protective order lifted. Many states are moving toward the idea that children witnessing domestic violence is child abuse/neglect. Do you know of any programs where police are called to an incident and both parents are sent to counseling based on the fact that children are witnessing violence?
2.  Sarah Buel
 I would love to see all parties get EFFECTIVE counseling, but that is the rub: bad counseling seems worse than none at all. In Travis County, TX (where I now live), the shelter and prosecutor jointly run Project Options, to which any victim wanting to drop a protective order must go for 2 sessions. We began this because so many victims told us they might have made a different choice had they been aware of the community resources and legal options. The sessions are run by volunteers (read: doesn't cost any money)with survivors involved and a very clear focus on victim safety. Thus, I applaud the notion of intervention, information, and guidance for all parties, but it's clear there must be minimal standards for such programs, with maximum input from advocates and survivors.
Is it possible to prioritize the most critical services for domestic violence victims? The question is related to a decreasing budget. We found that emergency and transitional housing are the key threshold as to whether victims believe they can break away. Is that true? Are there other "top 5" or "top 10" services that make the most difference for a victim?
1.  E.L.M
 Victims' assessment of their needs is critical but I don't believe should be determinative. For example, counseling may also be low on the victim's list because she does not understand or have experience with the importance of self-care. Yet, a traumatized DV survivor's ability to achieve her goals may be quite dependent on getting counseling!
2.  Sarah Buel
 Given that each victim's needs are different, it is hard to specify what is most important. Since we work with mostly low-income survivors in our DV clinic, ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT is critical, along with the legal remedies (protective order, etc.). As a result we have started the SURVIVOR SUPPORT NETWORK of about 100 volunteers (mostly law and business students but most anyone can be trained) to assit victims with ANY need, from housing, child care, job training, transportation, medical care,resume writing, eye glasses, counseling, etc. This allows the lawyers to focus on the legal issues, yet the survivor gets the help she needs to be safe and self-sufficent in both the short- and long-term. One model in this time of funding crisis is that of the Noah RX Project in Abalene, TX: their county medical and bar associations each put in half the cost of a DV lawyer, housed in an office above the emergency dept. of their local hospital, hours 2-10 p.m. You can obtain all info at We now start out by asking each victim what steps they think are necessary to achieve safety and financial independence, and together craft a SAFETY PLAN that includes obtaining herdream job.
3.  Debra Chase
 We are surveying residents and clients for the same reasons: what do they need most and how can we support them? Housing and employment are the top two answers nearly every time. Safety is usually number three or four. Counseling is low on the list because their basic needs are the priority. If you have no house or food, nothing else matters. We are adjusting our priorities to match theirs on every level.
Is it possible for the instructor to discuss briefly... 1. The Crawford case...testimony 2. Hearsay in general and police reports 3. Proving "fear" on words alone and history of violence. 4. Spousal privilege. Thanks.
1.  Sarah Buel
 #1. While Crawford v. Washington decision may impact the admission of some forms of hearsay, it should not prevent excited utterances from coming in. There are 2 excellent Indiana Appellate Court decisions in which they state that, by their very nature, excited utterances can NEVER be testimonial. Some defense attorneys are arguing that no hearsay is admissible post-Crawford and I think this is just wrong: Crawford only ruled that if testimonial statements are to be introduced at trial, the accused must have had the opportunity to confront the declarant in a prior proceeding, AND the witness must be unavailable to testify. It is important to here also argue the Doctrine of Forfeiture by Wrongdoing, which Justice Scalia specifically endorsed in the Crawford decision. The Doctrine holds that the accused loses the right to confrontation if he causes the witness's unavilability. Some great language on this in People v. Salazar, 688 N.Y.S.2d 401 (N.Y. Sup, 1999). I am writing a law review article on use of excited utterances in DV cases post-Crawford and will be glad to share this with you. #2. I'm not sure what you mean by "hearsay in general" - each state has a large body of case law governing use of hearsay, and you can go to the web site of the Texas District And County Atty's Assoc. ( to see updates post-Crawford on use of hearsay in victim cases. #3. Proving fear depends largely on your case facts and may be strengthened by use of an expert to explain how fear manifests itself in life of victim and children; also you'll want to check on case law in your state as to what has been persuasive previously. If you don't have Lexis or Westlaw access, you can go to to do legal research for free. #4. Spousal priviledge is different in each state; I'd suggest checking to see current status in your jurisdiction.
Domestic Violence
Anne Munch  -  2005/10/18
The cycle of abuse must be broken so children don't repeat the cycle of domestic violence as adults. What are your suggestions?
1.  Connie Allgire
 My agency, Women & Family Services, is part of a Family Justice Center collaborative that includes six rural counties in Northwest Ohio. There will be six Family Justice Center sites. I would appreciate any words of wisdom for serving victims in a rural setting.
2.  Kristie
 It doesn't seem as though the cycle can be completely broken until there is better education and stricter laws.
3.  Anne Munch
 Ending the cycle of abuse in our families is the goal of thousands of programs who are employing creative and effective ideas aimed at this goal. There is no one right way to do this, but my experience shows me that the communities who embrace a multi-disciplinary response of action have the best shot at meeting this goal. Domestic violence is a thread that runs through every aspect of the life of a victim within the context of his or her community. Services must be offered to victims in meaningful ways that are readily available and affordable for them. The one stop justice centers being modeled after the San Diego City Attorneys office are extremely effective in removing or minimizing barriers that victims of violence face, making it easier for them to make choices they might not otherwise be in a position to make which will better their lives and the lives of their children. On the other side of the coin is the absolute necessity that we hold offenders accountable for their offenses and tune up or criminal justice response, from police response on up through prosecution, sentencing, probation and parole, to ensure that violations of the law MEAN something and are treated seriously depending on the circumstances of each situation.
Law enforcement is now reporting to Child Protective Services (CPS)when a child has witnessed a domestic assault. CPS is holding the mother (victim) accountable for the safety of the children, many times insisting she go to shelter or lose her kids. Then Family Court judges give the abuser custody of the children because she is not in a "stable environment" even though he is the abuser!! Has anyone successfully dealt with these issues anywhere else in the United States? The victim is caught in between and loses her children, just like the abuser said she would!!
1.  Kristen
 I would like to hear more about this topic as well. Is this a common result? I've read about this issue over and over again, but have not found any research or statisical findings that show what is really going on.
2.  Anne Munch
 This is a difficult dynamic that requires a deep level of training and understanding of domestic violence dynamics within the family. While mandatory reporting laws vary from state to state, it is important to look carefully at the language to see under what circumstances a report to CPS is required. If witnessing violence clearly falls within that definition and reports are being made, it is of utmost importance that what happens next be thoughtful and responsive. I believe that first, always first, is to address the actions of the batterer. Responding to the violence and laying responsibility where it belongs, at the feet of the person using violence, is critical. Removing the threat from the home and lives of the victim and children is where the action should begin. Is there an effective criminal justice response to the offender in these situations? If not, there must be, as it is too easy to lay blame unfairly on the victim for things she can not be expected to control. That being said, victims of violence need outreach that will offer them resources and alternatives for how they care for their children. Offering this in a way that is not coercive or threatening clearly brings a better result. Cross training between the departments, making sure that people understand different roles and responsibilities is critical. The CPS workers should be in the loop with the coordinated dv response. To find which communities are successfully dealing with this specific issue, you might look for the successful coordinated community response programs that incorporate children into their framework, and have CPS at the table. Check with the Office on Violence Against Women or the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence out of Austin Texas for specific successful examples.
I am the Victim Services Officer for the NV Dept of Corrections. I receive numerous phone calls from victims of DV who want to visit the offender while he is in our custody. The visiting policy for our dept is such that victims are not allowed to visit their offender. Are we doing the right thing when it relates to victims of DV? Any information & assistance would be most appreciated.
1.  Traci Dory
 Thank you for your response. At this time, I am the only DOC staff member that deals with victims issues. Typically the only victims I discuss this with are the ones who have been denied at the institutional level & want me to override the decision of the warden. There is some batterer's treatment being done, but at this time I am not privy to the specifics of those classes. Any other suggestions?
2.  Anne Munch
 Most jails and correctional facilities have policies in place preventing visitation under most circumstances for very good reasons. Convicted domestic violence offenders can pose a threat to others both inside and outside the facility. It can be difficult for the staff at the correctional facility to track the status of individual protection order provisions that may be in effect, and offender tactics clearly do not always cease just because a person is incarcerated. Does your facility have a victim advocate available to talk with and work with victims whose partners are incarcerated? Are the offenders receiving any form of treatment within the facility, and what is the position of the treatment provider? While there are no easy answers to this question, my impression is that your facilitys policy is consistent with many others like institutions.
I would like to know what benefits exist relative to an employer issuing a barring notice to an individual identified as a violence perpetrator when the victim employee refuses to obtain an order of protection. Are there examples of the proper wording of a barring notice?
1.  Anne Munch
 David,Here is the specific language from our statute: If the judge or magistrate finds that an imminent danger exists to the employees of a business entity, he or she may issue a civil protection order in the name oif the business for the protection of the employees. An employer shall not be liable for failing to obtain a civil protection order in the name of the business for the protection of employees and patrons. Of course the actual language in the protection order itself would be either standard (on the form) or whatever the Judge writes in.
2.  David L. Battle
 Are there examples of a Barring Notice available?
3.  Anne Munch
 Workplace violence is a very real threat, and domestic violence offenders are clearly dangerous to people around the victim as well as to the victim his or herself. Many states have legislation that includes a place of work as a place to be protected. Colorado is one such place. CRS 13-14-102 includes people at a place of work in the group of persons entitled to petition the court for an order of protection. They are required to establish that an imminent threat to the life or health of one or more persons exists before the order can issue. I am sure other states have similar laws. You might check with the Office on Violence Against Women to see if there are other specific examples of states doing this that may be helpful to you.
How would you sensitively approach the topic of sexual assault with an immigrant battered woman? What would you not do or say?
1.  Anne Munch
 This is a difficult topic to approach with any domestic violence victim and can be even more complicated when the victim is an immigrant. We know that sexual violence is not uncommon in domestic violence relationships, yet we rarely talk about it or address it directly. Understanding the local law and what conduct is prohibited by law is a good first step. Knowing how consent is defined is also an important tool in preparing to discuss whether acts between the victim and her partner are illegal. Many women, when asked the question, Has your husband ever raped you? will answer in the negative for many reasons. Perhaps they do not understand that in virtually every state and community it is illegal for a man to force his wife to have sex; some believe it is part of the marital contract. Others think that rape necessarily includes the use of a weapon or physical violence. A good approach might be to neutralize the language and not use words that may have specific meaning, whether correct or incorrect, for the listener. An example is, Has your partner ever made you do something of a sexual nature that you did not want to do? Finding neutral, common denominator language may assist you in overcoming barriers or expectations that women may be subject to based on cultural, religious or other reasons. While the offender may be TELLING her that the conduct is acceptable in their community, this is an excuse and not truthful.
What is the mandatory reporting law in Indian County for adults of sexual assault? I was on call the victim was scared of reporting the rape. I told her I wouldn't tell anybody until she was ready. It was up to her, but the person who raped her had no right to hurt her the way he did. She's afraid with family connections, being blamed. This happened early in the morning, that night around 9PM she called & said was ready to press charges, the "officers" are mad because I knew about it that morning, but didn't tell them until she was ready. I am here to support the victim & didn't want to scare her off.
1.  David L. Battle
 My question is specific to the use ofBarring Notices when the potential victim emplyee choose not to seek a protection order.
2.  sane in nj
 we have a victim-centered approach in NJ and the victim has the right to guide how shehe reports and to whom. I know law enforcment is probably angry about the length of time they lost re getting evidence, tracking down the perpetrator, etc but ultimately we need to respect the victim.
3.  Anne Munch
 For an answer about specific reporting laws across the country regarding sexual assault, contact the American Prosecutors Research Institute, Terese Scalzo, for a great resource that lays out which states have requirements in this area. Reporting a sexual assault is a very difficult thing for any victim to do. Only a fraction of sexual assaults are ever reported at all, and victims usually delay their reports for some very good reasons. Forcing a victim to go into the criminal justice system before she is ready can have long term devastating effects on her personally, and on the case. While I am a prosecutor and understand the urgency with which law enforcement needs information, I still feel we have to let the victim set the pace as best she is able. Thank you for walking her through the process and assisting her in making a report at all. Stay close to her, she may need you in the future-our system is not kind to victims of sexual assault.
Given a jurisdiction that is quite advanced and committed to DV, what are strategies to utilize when attempting to implement cutting edge approaches and these efforts are met with very sophisticated resistance and/or disinterest due to overburden on a legitimately overtaxed system?
1.  Anne Munch
 Hi Steve! We can talk about this in person as well, but here are some other ideas. There are so many communities who are faced with this exact dilemma, I can truly empathize. A few suggestions. Is there a coordinated community response in place? One that is multi-disciplinary and has the resources and connections to reach every system or representative that is being reluctant? If assume there is, but if not, I suggest starting there. If so, have you done an analysis of what the true barriers, as opposed to the perceived barriers are? Are there ways to begin addressing the true barriers in a way that will be acceptable to those offering the resistance? The Battered Womens Justice Project and their accountability reviews showed that many problems originally perceived as insurmountable were not. My mom always tells me that you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar, and so approaching the community members in a way that will make the problem REAL for them is a good starting place. Are there victims or survivors who are willing to assist with education? What about a court watch program that uses volunteers from the community? When is the last time that really excellent training making compassionate links between domestic violence and child abuse or animal abuse was offered in the community? This is a topic for detailed discussion, much of the answer depends on the specific problems you are encountering, but there are many of us that can offer suggestions about where to begin!
Could you address strategies to reach the elderly and disabled populations as well as Hispanic population with information about dv services?
1.  Erin Worsely
 When servicing special populations you often have to meet them where they are, because they are not as mobile. When permitted may I suggest placing DV literature (bi-lingual as well) in community centers, local grocery and drug stores; eateries; public laundries; barber and hair salons;places of worship and doctor offices.
2.  Kathryn
 Safe Place in Austin, TX has a great program called Disability Services ASAP that addresses dv services for people with disabilities.
3.  Anne Munch
 There are so many great programs addressing these communities, please do not reinvent the wheel! Visit the VAWA Effectiveness Project run out of the Edmund Muskie School of Public Service in Portland Maine for example after example of states who are using VAWA dollars to implement programs in their state. Wisconsin DV coalition is one such program dealing with elderly and disabled that comes to mind, but there are many. The VAWA Grant administrator in New Mexico also has access to some great programs in that state, and of course, there are so many more. You can also go to the Office on Violence Against Women to see which states are using VAWA dollars currently for these populations.
When dealing with domestic violence victims, how should you proceed when the victim wants to return to living with her DV partner? when there are children involved what additional actions should be taken?
1.  Kim Eubanks
 I think if a victim wants to return to the partner, it is very important to show that you respect their decision. work out a saftey plan with them in case the find themselves in danger. Make sure they know that they have your support in case another incident should happen.
2.  Anne Munch
 It is important to remember that many victims of domestic violence return to their partners for some very good reasons, and that leaving is sometimes a process that takes a long time. Not all victims choose to leave their situations. Sometimes staying in the relationship is actually safer than leaving. We know that most DV homicides are committed under circumstances where the victim has talked about leaving or left. Given this reality, we need to find ways to assist victims who are back with their abusers. Providing meaningful safety planning over time to victims is absolutely necessary. Checking in regularly with victims to see what circumstances have changed, and making sure the safety plan reflects those changes is important. There are many great examples of safety plans available on the web or through DV programs. Creating a bridge to the victims so that they know that you are always there for them and they can call you if they need you is important. Telling them the truth about how violence affects children, how domestic violence escalates over time, how they do not deserve to be hit, etc. are truths that I believe should be spoken. Keep the door open for her and her children so that when and if she is ready to leave, she has your number as a place to start.
Would you discuss the combination of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness has on Domestic Violence on both the vicitim and abuser. Could you provide any studies or stats on this combination please.
1.  Rev Paul Papas
 We are working on this also, we have many resourses in this area and would be glad to help and share.
2.  Anne Munch
 There is a link between substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence. That being said, it is important to note that the abuse of alcohol or drugs does not CAUSE domestic violence. It certainly throws gas on the existing fire, but it is not the cause of the fire. There are so many people with drinking problems who are not violent with their partners, and while we would all like there to be a somewhat easy fix to this problem, it has been said that when you sober up an angry person, you have a sober angry person. That being said, when one looks at the high risk for lethality checklists, or those things that are commonly associated with lethal violence in relationships, drug and alcohol problems and mental health issues are on the list. They are a part of the problem that needs attention indeed which is why most courts order alcohol and mental health evaluations in domestic violence cases. I would refer you to a host of batterer treatment programs for studies on the correlations between these problems and domestic violence as I do not have any on hand. In my state, you could contact the AMEND program (Abusive Men Exploring New Directions) as a starting place.
3.  Melissa
 We live in a small rural community with few resources for women with SA or MI. We have seen an increase of women seeking with these issues. We are working on a plan to better serve these clients and would like any suggestions.
How would you suggest that local DV programs help their communities address the tragedy of abusers getting custody or visitation with their children when they have little ability to care for or parent them--let alone when they are outright abusive to them?
1.  Anne Munch
 Thank you for naming this problem, it certainly is an important one. The necessary but sometimes missing element in this equation is education on the part of all of the persons who make these important decisions. Our criminal justice workers are often educated about the dynamics of domestic violence but sometimes there is a lack of sophisticated response in the divorce and custody law arena. Suggestions include partnering with programs that bring accurate information to the courts on this issue on behalf of victims who are seeking divorce or custody. Deluth Minnesota has a program where court appointed civil attorneys assist victims in these exact circumstances to make sure that courts are not manipulated. No doubt there are others, I would check with the American Bar Association for other programs. Also, educating communities about why batterers do not make good parents is necessary.
Hello Anne: I am a counselor/advocate, & I work for the Network Against Sexual & Domestic Abuse. I met you in Colorado at an EVAW training 6/04. It covered DV Dynamics, Investigations, Legal Overview & Advocacy. It was excellent! I would like to bring that training to Bozeman, MT where I now live. Can you tell me if this protocol still exists & if so, how to access it interstate. Thank you! Christine Adams; (406) 586-4111
1.  Anne Munch
 Hi Christine! I am glad you enjoyed the EVAW training. EVAW is a program that delivers DV and SA training in Colorado via VAWA dollars, but they typically do not travel outside the state. That being said, call current director, Linda Johnston at 303 271-6799 to see if some of the trainers might be able to come to Montana to lend a hand or to assist you with other training resources for your area.
What is the most important issue facing responding to DV survivors at this time? What problems are survivors continuing to face with victim rights legislation?
 We are Survivors United Against Domestic Violence (SUADV) - a group of DV survivors starting a non-profit organization in Tempe, AZ to assist/mentor new DV survivors in rebuilding and taking back control of their lives one issue at a time, after they leave a shelter or choose not to be in shelters. Most of the survivors we are serving have already been through the shelter world and do not wish to return. Some have been kicked out of shelters for one reason or another or have completed their program but have nowhere else to go afterwards and are still figuring out what to do with their lives. That's where we come in. We've been through their ordeal - life in the shelter and afterwards - and can assist them. However, we need to provide temporary housing to survivors for safety reasons and to prevent homelessness. Meanwhile, we have exhausted our personal finances placing them in motel rooms a week at a time. We would appreciate any assistance this forum could give us with sources of funding to meet their housing needs. Please contact me if you can assist us. You may check our site and mission statement at Thank you. :)
2.  Anne Munch
 I would say that the most important issue that DV survivors face is a lack of resources to meaningfully assist them in their situations. We need to make DV a priority at every level if we want them to succeed. Victims rights legislation is so important, Colorado has had a victims rights amendment to our State Consititution for many years. Five years ago, however, we were only one of four or five states in the country that actually had provisions in our legislation that had teeth. What I mean is that when there is a violation of victims rights, we have a board that can hand down some recommendations to the person who violated the rights to assist them for change. WIthout this, the law can become ineffective. Keep working on it!
What are some best practices in trying domestic violence cases?
1.  Anne Munch
 Build a strong relationship with the victim and try to maintain it. Always treat her with dignity and respect, even if she does not participate in the process the way you would prefer. Make sure you are familiar with all the evidence that can corroborate your case and which jurors require. Statements from neutral witnesses, 911 calls, photos etc. Most of all, be prepared to explain to the jury why they should care, even if they believe that she does not. USE and EXPERT to talk about dynamics if at all possible. SO much to say on this topic, so little time!
What are your recommendations for supervising offenders on parole and probation who have been convicted of domeatic violence?
1.  Anne Munch
 Use of electronic home monitoring, careful supervision of their activities, close contact with the victim to see how things are really going at home if they are back together, and swift and meaningful response to any violations of probation or parole. Remember, probation is a privilege and parole a necessary step toward living back in community. Hold them accountable.
Our shelter is only one year old. What advise would you have on finding funding, roles of the Victim Advocate,and shelter manager.
1.  Anne Munch
 Get your community to buy in early to why your shelter is necessary and deserving of funding. I helped start a DV and SA program in Telluride CO, and it has grown so beautifully because of community investment. There are lots of resources on training victim advocates, start with your state wide DV program and go from there. You will find a director, lots of people have commitment to this and the huge heart that goes along with it!
The debate regarding the effectiveness of batterer intervention programs has been going on for quite some time. Are these programs effective? If so, which ones and are there best practices standards available?
1.  Joan Zorza
 There is little data showing any difference in effectiveness among types of programs, except that programs of very short duration (e.g., 8 week programs) do considerably worse. While men who complete batterer programs do much better than men who fail to complete them, batterer programs show little if any more success than other interventions, such as community service. Some new research shows monitoring by probation officers or judges to be more effective than batterer programs when noncompliance results in swift and increasingly more severe sanctions.
The Family Court judges in our city are not "on board" with holding batterers accountable, even after conviction,nor in protecting victims adequately. Please give examples of communities where coordinating councils,agency networks have been succesful in getting these judges to follow existing statutes, order treatment, etc, to effectively break the cycle.
1.  Charlie Spruill
 Rather than having an adversarial relationship, our unit invited the famliy law judges and their clerks to a working lunch meeting in our Family Violence Unit. They met each member of our staff and were able to put a face with names and more importantly the position. We (Detectives and Advocates) explained what our function was and how we try to accomplish our tasks in concert with the courts. The Judges and their staff explained how they did there jobs and what we could do to assist them in making decisions. Their suggestions were more than reasonable, such as threat assessments, taped conversations, etc. If, we have any issues then were are able to conference call or do a face to face meeting. So, far it is working. The lunch was a simple lunch, sandwiches and a salad. We scheduled the meeting at their convienence and fit it into the time they had (1 hour). I have found that it is rare that a group of individuals turn down a free lunch.
2.  Anne Munch
 The best resource I can name for this issue is the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges out of Reno NEvada. Contact them for resources and successful programs. Also, consider court watch programs. Contact Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
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