In Fairfax County, Virginia, victims and survivors of domestic violence might go to court for one of two reasons; civil court, to file a protective order, or criminal court, to participate in a trial. The court system regarding domestic violence includes three major parties. The first are county judges, who are appointed via election in the Virginia legislature. The second group consists of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court intake office, which is made up of non-elected employees. The last party consists of non-elected, government-funded employees of the local domestic violence advocacy agency. For my project, I observed proceedings in civil and criminal court regarding domestic violence cases, and determined whether the way the local court system is setup helps or harms domestic violence victims. From my observations, I found that the way the system was setup allowed for a lot of inconsistency and unreliability, creating a shaky system for victims and survivors seeking help from the court.
One thought on “Fairfax County Court: A Victim-Centered Approach?”
I thought this was a great project and issue to tackle. Domestic violence is defiantly a huge problem in our society. I think pointing out how inconsistent and unreliable the courts can be can be helpful for survivors of abuse and their families. It shows that there is a systematic, structural change that needs to be taken in a specific region, but how it could point to a more wide spread issue we need to address as a society and how we deal with domestic violence in families who are put into the court system. I thought it was also useful how you described where the employees were from (like non elected etc) like we have done in examples in class. It could have an effect on their desire to be there to help survivors. Overall it was a great piece highlighting how a national issue was handled in the local courts!