Domestic violence courts: The case of Lady Justice meets the serpents of the Caduceus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


The pervasiveness of domestic violence and its combined social unacceptability and imposing, recurring social and human consequences has motivated domestic violence legislation and eventually specialized courts. Domestic violence courts integrate three parallel tracks associated with the 30-year social trend of criminalizing domestic violence: prosecution, punishment, and deterrence of batterers; rehabilitation of batterers; and protection of victims. The goal of these courts is not to eschew punishment, but rather to ensure that punishment is efficiently and fully exacted on batterers in ways that hold them accountable for their crimes against intimates and to deter future acts of domestic violence. Although there are more than 200 domestic violence courts in the United States, there is no consistency among these courts in terms of structure and process, and their effectiveness on relevant outcomes such as recidivism and victim safety, remains uncertain. Characteristics of Domestic Violence Courts Shaping Performance defines domestic courts in terms of their characteristics that may enhance and hinder performance. In Principles of Therapeutic Jurisprudence Applied to Domestic Violence, domestic violence courts are assessed through the lens of therapeutic jurisprudence with emphasis on the schisms of extremes underpinning these courts and how they forestall Lady Justice's reach toward and embrace of the Caduceus' therapeutic potential. A Holistic, Therapeutic-Restorative Approach to Domestic Violence Courts develops an alternative strategy for judicial intervention; a strategy that employs a more holistic and balanced approach and addresses the needs of both the batterer and the victim, while holding the batterer accountable for his behavior. Finally, Promise, Limitations, and Future Research makes recommendations for improving the potential of domestic violence courts and for future empirical experimentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProblem Solving Courts
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Science and Legal Perspectives
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781461474036
ISBN (Print)1461474027, 9781461474029
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


  • Batterers programs
  • Domestic violence courts
  • Rehabilitation
  • Therapeutic jurisprudence
  • Victims


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