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Critical Conversations project addresses barriers to procedural justice in domestic violence cases

Critical Conversations project addresses barriers to procedural justice in domestic violence cases

This summer, NCSC met with representatives from partner organizations and administrative offices of the state courts to identify ways to overcome barriers to procedural justice in domestic violence cases. Challenges ranging from language, technology, and knowledge barriers to lack of community resources and limited court staff have been identified since the pandemic.

“While many post-pandemic concerns are shared across case types, our Critical Conversations project reveals the specific needs in domestic violence cases,” said Sarah Vandenberg Van Zee, an NCSC research program specialist. “Due to the nature of these cases, there are increased concerns about safety and easy access to the process itself.”

To review the considerations identified in the Critical Conversations project, NCSC is hosting a webinar, E-filing domestic violence protection orders - Safety, accessibility and effectiveness, on September 27. A panel, including presenters from states using innovative portals (such as the Arizona Protective Order Initiation and Notification Tool), will also address safety and confidentiality/privacy concerns, accessibility challenges, support strategies to help petitioners navigate e-filing, and court processes and collaboration requirements to build a robust framework.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the project makes recommendations for improving procedural justice and the user experience that include using portals to provide remote access to the courts, assigning court advocates to assist with all aspects of the process, and eliminating in-person and remote court barriers.

Learn more about NCSC’s and other domestic violence work at

Apply today to join Appearance Rate Project

Looking for ways to improve your court’s appearance rates in criminal and traffic matters? NCSC is accepting applications to the Appearance Rate Project, a new initiative that will help courts better understand appearance rates and engagement. Up to six jurisdictions will be selected to receive focused technical assistance and other support in this yearlong program. Applications are due Sept. 30. For more information on the Appearance Rate Project, go to or contact Mike Tartaglia

You can also learn more about improving appearance rates by checking out this week’s Tiny Chat.