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Domestic violence backlog lab addresses data quality issues

Domestic violence backlog lab addresses data quality issues

October 25, 2023 -- Quality data are critical for judges and court staff handling domestic violence cases. Because faulty court data can lead to delays, NCSC is working with courts to discover ways to improve data quality and court processes.

"High-quality data are paramount in domestic violence cases, as the lack of quality data can directly jeopardize survivor safety by impeding law enforcement's ability to serve orders and preventing courts from securing orders tailored to survivors' needs," said Alicia Davis, an NCSC principal court management consultant.

This summer, NCSC’s Domestic Violence Backlog Lab focused on identifying issues and challenges in the entire data lifecycle of domestic violence cases. With funding from the State Justice Institute, the lab helped courts assess their data using the recently developed Domestic Violence (DV) extension to the National Open Court Data Standards (NODS). Participating courts included those in Puerto Rico, Delaware, Illinois, and Orange County, California.

By participating in the lab, courts are improving data quality efforts in their jurisdictions by incorporating elements identified in the DV extension of NODS into their court data processes and developing/updating e-filing/case management systems. Lab sites were required to assemble teams consisting of a domestic violence court process expert, a data expert, and judicial leadership.

“The participation of the Judicial Branch of Puerto Rico in the Domestic Violence Backlog Lab resulted in the implementation of immediate strategies to ensure the quality of the data we collected and the development of a work plan to apply new processes,” according to team members Judge Rafael Parés Quiñones; Judicial Programs Director Raiza Cajigas Campell; and assistant coordinators Brenda Fernández Rodríguez and Jo Marie González Mercado. “Over the past 4 months, we have conducted audits of our data, a study to estimate the time and resources required to resolve the inaccuracies identified, and meetings with management to establish next steps.”

NCSC’s work in this arena will continue with a Research and Evaluation grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, focusing on a data improvement project in Illinois.

For more information on NCSC’s efforts to improve the handling of domestic violence cases in courts, visit or contact Alicia Davis or Sarah Vandenberg Van Zee.