The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) is the comprehensive training and technical assistance provider to judges on domestic violence through the Judicial Education Development Initiative on Domestic Violence: From Concepts to Improved Court Responses project (JEDI-DV). The goals of this project are to provide innovative educational programs for judicial officers, create broad multidisciplinary, multicultural forums to advance effective court and community approaches to domestic violence, and provide judicial officers with targeted technical assistance to enhance responses to domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking cases.
The mission of the JEDI-DV project is to offer innovative educational programming and technical assistance through the creation of peer-to-peer learning opportunities for judicial officers engaged in efforts to improve responses to domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking cases.
The NCJFCJ provides educational opportunities for judges hearing domestic violence cases along a variety of axes, including child custody decision-making, protection orders, criminal sanctions and pleas, immigration, and child abuse and neglect.
Formed in 1998, the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence (NJIDV) is a dynamic partnership among the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, Futures Without Violence, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The NJIDV has provided technical assistance and highly interactive, skills-based domestic violence workshops for judges and judicial officers nationwide since 1999. The NJIDV has developed a continuum of judicial education that currently includes the Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases (EJS) Workshop, Continuing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases (CJS) Program, Faculty Development, and Technical Assistance for state and regional adaptation and replication of the NJIDV programs. Judges return from these programs to their communities with a vastly greater understanding of domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, and stalking, improved tools for handling the day-to-day legal issues, and a stronger sense of their courtroom and community roles to help end and prevent violence. Judges also learn how to support victims’ efforts to achieve safety, obtain support, and realize autonomy while holding batterers accountable for their conduct and offering them opportunities to change battering behavior. The NJIDV also connects with other judicial education programs developed by the NCJFCJ and Futures Without Violence to offer additional specialized programs (such as on Abuse in Later Life and Teen Dating Violence) to judicial officers nationwide.
The NCJFCJ’s Judicial Engagement Network is a national community of engaged judges and judicial officers leading efforts to improve community responses and judicial and court practices to domestic violence and sexual assault. We are here to offer technical assistance, tools, and training.
The NCJFCJ offers tailored technical assistance to judges and court-related professionals seeking presentation assistance, workshop design, research and resources, consultation, and peer-to-peer connections. The NCJFCJ assists judges and court-related professionals with developing presentations on child-custody decision-making in domestic violence cases, victim and perpetrator behaviors, protection order practices, including the seizure and storage of firearms and full faith and credit, the overlap of domestic violence and child maltreatment, abuse in later life, immigration issues, working with self-represented litigants, judicial leadership, and a host of other issues related to hearing domestic violence cases and tailoring these presentations and accompanying materials to their state, Tribal, or local jurisdictions.
The NCJFCJ will also conduct research for judges and court-related professionals on case law, statutes, social science, and model practices; provide individualized consultation and on-site technical assistance to judges and court-related professionals seeking to change domestic violence practice in their courts and communities; and facilitate peer-to-peer conversations and opportunities to share emerging court and community practices, troubleshoot challenging court and community practices or policies in domestic violence cases, and deal with emergency situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCJFCJ also maintains a website with toolkits, bench books and cards, policy manuals, and other publications for judges and court-related professionals hearing domestic violence cases.
Helpful Information and Updates
Break from the Bench
The NCJFCJ’s Break from the Bench: A Lunch and Learn Series are discussions on a wide range of topics focused on what a judge needs to know about domestic violence. Our expert faculty will provide information for judges and courts on strategies for improving responses to intimate partner violence.
Dividing Retirement Benefits at Divorce Bench Card
This bench card provides an overview of the key points a judge needs to know, including the information needed to divide retirement benefits appropriately, decisions the judge needs to make, and what the order should include.
Crafting Civil Protection Orders to Enhance Economic Security for Victims and Children Technical Assistance Brief
This Technical Assistance Brief outlines strategies to help courts effectively tailor comprehensive economic relief provisions and other protective measures in CPOs, enabling courts to provide immediate remedies to address the economic needs of victims and their children.
Parenting Plans after Family Court Findings of Domestic Violence: Promoting Safety, Accountability and Healing for Victims, Perpetrators, and Children
This brief focuses on parenting plans in the aftermath of domestic violence. Parents with a history of domestic violence may need different resolutions that involve supervised or no contact with children, depending on safety concerns for children and the non-offending parent. A critical need in these cases is a proper assessment and investigation into all claims to ensure that appropriate parenting arrangements are matched to each family system.
Assessing Risk of Parental Child Homicides in the Context of Domestic Violence Technical Assistance Brief
This document describes the current state of research on identification of children’s risk for lethality and its relationship to the adult victim’s risk. Main topics include suggestions to incorporate this material into domestic violence cases and how judicial officers can act as leaders in their communities, responding to indicators of lethal risk to children.
Firearms and Civil Protection Orders: Answer to Judges’ Frequently Asked Questions
This document answers frequently asked questions relating to firearms and civil protection orders. Main topics include enforcement of jurisdiction and federal protection order laws, suggested collaboration efforts, information regarding a respondent’s access to firearms, addressing order violations, and effective mechanisms for compliance.
Custody and Parenting Time Orders: Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Strategies for Courts
This document provides a set of suggested practices and strategies for consideration by courts seeking to improve compliance with custody and parenting time orders. Main topics include exercising judicial leadership, crafting orders with enforceability and compliance in mind, suggested instructional materials to litigants on enforcement and modification, and addressing non-compliance.
Strategies to Improve the Response to Firearms in Civil Protection Order (CPO) Cases: A Checklist for Judges
This document provides a checklist of strategies for judges to improve the response to firearms in civil protection order cases. Main topics include steps to assemble multi-disciplinary collaborative teams, mapping the civil protection process to identify gaps and challenges, and strategies to consider for each stage of the civil protection order process.
Case Law Updates
Domestic Violence Rebuttable Presumption: Case Law Update for 2018-2020
This document contains summaries of published state court decisions of interest related to a rebuttable presumption against awarding sole or joint custody to a parent who has engaged in domestic violence against the other parent. Such provisions have been adopted in some form in 28 states. While most of these summaries are brief, containing only the court’s holding and any necessary background or procedural details, a few have been expanded based on their complexity, their uniqueness, or the importance of their holding. Cases have been categorized by their main issue below. Cases granted a rehearing before the publication of this document are noted below.
Civil Protection Order: Case Law Update for 2019
This document contains summaries of published state court decisions of interest related to civil protection orders, their issuance, and their enforcement for the year 2019. While most of these summaries are brief, containing only the courts holding and any necessary background or procedural details, a few have been expanded based on their complexity, their uniqueness, or the importance of their holding.
McGirt V. Oklahoma: Case Law Update
Recently, the United States Supreme Court, in McGirt v. Oklahoma, recognized the continued existence of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation, and as a consequence, that tribal and federal courts have primary jurisdiction to prosecute citizens of tribal nations for crimes committed within that reservation. This publication examines that decision, and its potential impacts to domestic violence victims and states and tribal courts in their efforts to address domestic violence. It also looks at the impact that McGirt has had on the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s courts.
The Ready Resource: Providing Up-To-Date Trainings and Resources for Judicial Officers
The Ready Resource provides relevant information about current events, new and helpful resources, and upcoming training dates for judicial officers related to improving responses to intimate partner violence. The most recent edition includes information on what the NCJFCJ can provide to judicial officers through customized training and resources, information about the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence, and upcoming webinar opportunities.
Current Issue: October 2022
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NCJFCJ Project Resources
- Civil Protection Orders
- Family Court Enhancement Project
- Judicial Engagement Network
- National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence