The first court in Connecticut designed to deal specifically with domestic violence cases has resulted in the doubling of domestic violence convictions.
In the past, because domestic violence cases were part of the criminal docket, they were often dropped and pushed aside by robberies and other assaults.
The court’s goals are to stop violence, protect victims and demand accountability from abusers, said Judge Lawrence Hauser, one of the founders of the special court. As a result of the specialized court, domestic violence convictions have quadrupled in the region and have more than twice the rate of convictions compared to the state overall.
The court follows cases from beginning to end, with periodic check-ins with Judge Hauser, who evaluates defendants’ progress in court-ordered programs. Once a week, the prosecutor, the victim’s advocate, probation and family relations officers and bail commissioner meet and discuss the cases. Even if the victim decides not to prosecute, the state uses her testimony anyway. Immediate intervention and criminal protective orders are important, said Hauser. Defendants also must attend mandatory domestic violence programs, which can result in a jail term if not completed successfully.