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Jennifer Koshan

Subsequently published in the Osgoode Hall Law Journal.

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Domestic violence; Integrated Domestic Violence courts; violent crime; family law


Extensive law and policy reforms in the area of domestic violence have occurred in the last several decades in the United States and Canada, the latest being the development of specialized domestic violence (DV) courts. DV courts typically operate in the criminal realm, particularly in Canada. A recent innovation that is relatively unique in the U.S. is Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) courts, where criminal, civil and family matters are heard together in a one judge/one family model. This paper examines the literature on DV and IDV courts in Canada and the U.S., and situates these reforms in the context of domestic violence reforms more broadly. Then, it presents a case study of an IDV court in Manhattan, New York, including the results of interviews with litigant advocates and justice sector and institutional representatives as well as courtroom observations. The author concludes that there are many potential benefits to IDV courts, along with some challenges that Canadian jurisdictions intending to implement such courts should address.