Staten Island Domestic Violence Lawyer
How Integrated Domestic Violence Courts Have Led to Swifter Justice for Victims in Staten Island
Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects hundreds of families each year, especially those residing in Staten Island. It can manifest in a number of ways, including verbal, emotional, and physical abuse, and can affect couples, spouses, and even children. These harmful behaviors are rarely isolated incidents. Instead, they tend to continue for years on end, affecting everyone in the household – even those whom the abuse is not directed toward.
Though domestic violence is a crime, punishable by law, for many years , victims encountered several obstacles when dealing with cases in court – even when represented by an experienced domestic violence attorney. It wasn’t until the establishment of Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) courts in 2003 that suffering families were finally able to obtain the urgent protection they needed from their attacker(s).
Prior to the creation of IDV courts, domestic violence cases were heard in separate courts before numerous judges. Months and even years would pass before a case was finalized, leaving victims vulnerable for subsequent attacks. Luckily, those days are over; however, the issue of domestic violence continues to be a problem in Staten Island.
The Alarming Truth about Domestic Violence in Staten Island
The need for victims to seek legal counsel with a Staten Island domestic violence attorney is higher than ever before. Statistics show that domestic violence rates in Staten Island have been increasing at an alarming rate. In fact, Staten Island saw a 34 percent increase in the number of domestic violence arrests between 2010 and 2013.
Yet, as shocking as the figures are, in reality, the number of individuals who are affected by domestic violence is much higher. Although victims have the right to seek help with authorities and a domestic violence lawyer, they often feel shame and are embarrassed to come forward with allegations, leading to a lifelong cycle of pain, injuries, and sometimes, even death.
Unfortunately, a large number of domestic violence incidents are fatal. According to the New York City Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee’s annual report, 38 domestic violence-related homicides occurred in Staten Island between 2002 and 2013. The sooner victims come forward, the lower their chances of succumbing to fatal abuse. But even after reporting a domestic violence matter, there was a time when the road to obtaining justice was long and tumultuous.
The Court System: Then and Now
Victims of domestic violence in Staten Island had to endure several obstacles when bringing their cases in court for many years. The stress and pain that families were dealing with was intensified by the need to attend multiple hearings in separate courts, including criminal, civil, and divorce courts. When Integrated Domestic Violence courts were established at the turn of the century, these challenges were finally put to an end.
With a “one family/one judge” approach, IDV courts have allowed for faster and simpler proceedings. IDV judges are specifically trained in domestic violence laws in addition to family law matters, and oversee cases from beginning to end. In addition, since IDV judges able to monitor a defendant’s actions and whether or not they are complying with any mandates, like restraining orders, offenders are now being held to a much higher level of accountability, further reducing the risk to victims.
The legal system in Staten Island has certainly come a long way. Today, families can obtain representation with an integrated violence lawyer and expect swifter results in court, greater protection from offenders, as well as superior enforcement of their rights.