DELAWARE DELEGATION ATTENDS NATIONAL CONFERENCE TO KICK OFF OVW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/SEXUAL ASSAULT PROJECT
On January 8, 2013, a delegation led by Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden, and comprised of staff of the Court of Common Pleas and the Administrative Office of the Courts, headed to Louisville, Kentucky to attend a three day, new grantee orientation training sponsored by the Office on Violence Against Women. The Administrative Office of the Courts is the recipient of a 24-month Office on Violence against Women Fiscal Year 2012 Court Training and Improvements Program grant to fund the Victim Advocacy and Safety Enhancement project (“VASE”) in Delaware. Delaware was one of nine grantees in attendance from such states as Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Idaho, Georgia and New York. VASE seeks to provide justice-involved victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault with the tools to end the cycle of violence and abuse, address the root cause of the problem that may have led to their involvement with the criminal justice system, and help reduce recidivism. Under the terms of the grant, VASE will:
- create a “specialized track” within the Superior Court’s Mental Health Court and the Court of Common Pleas’ Trauma Informed Probation Courts to identify justice-involved victims of sexual assault and/or domestic violence;
- coordinate and provide services and trauma-informed care to the identified victims of sexual abuse and/or domestic violence; and
- educate the Judiciary on the needs of justice-involved victims of sexual abuse and/or domestic violence.
The three days were packed with presentations from the grant’s technical assistance providers – the Center for Court Innovation; the Muskie School of Public Service; the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; Futures Without Violence; the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community; the National Center for State Courts; and Legal Momentum, National Judicial Education Program – and covered a host of different subjects ranging from the language used by the media to describe sexual assault to the effectiveness of different programming options. It provided grantees with the opportunity to watch first-hand a model domestic violence court overseen by Judge Jerry Bowles of the Jefferson Circuit Court, Family Division, and participate in a panel discussion on tips and insights into running a domestic violence court with Judge Bowles and others. Strategic planning sessions for individual state projects, in which each group worked with a technical assistance provider to formulate their project and report to the larger group, were mixed with group exercises designed to illustrate the complex realities of domestic violence. The Delaware delegation returned from this trip ready and prepared to work on the VASE project.
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