|eCourts Civil Domestic Violence System Awarded Three-Year Grant Funding|
|The eCourts Civil Domestic Violence System (ECCDV) has recently been awarded a three-year grant of $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The grant will help to increase victim safety and reduce incidents of further violence in North Carolina by funding expansion of the remote filing system in 13 counties and integrating it with NCAWARE.|
Once implemented, the system will serve half of the N.C. population, half of domestic violence protective order filings statewide, and more than 56% of domestic violence homicides statewide. ECCDV launched in Alamance County in June 2013, led by Superior Court Judge Jim Roberson and a community collaboration approach to serve the victims of domestic violence. The system provides electronic filing for a domestic violence protective order with the assistance of a domestic violence advocate. The victim has total access to the district court community, including law enforcement, without the need to leave the safety of a secure remote location or compromise their privacy and confidentiality. Instead of multiple stops, the victim has a one-stop shop for their service needs.
"A true measure of the character of a community is what it does for the most vulnerable of our neighbors, and victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable," said Judge Roberson. "Coordination of an electronic protective order system with NCAWARE is a tremendously positive step to help law enforcement become even more effective in its efforts to protect victims of domestic violence. North Carolina can be proud that it is a national leader on this system for domestic violence prevention."
Currently, ECCDV is available in Alamance, Guilford, and Wake counties. Necessary documents, such as the notice of hearing and proof of service, are automatically populated between ECCDV and the statewide court records management system, and these documents are sent to the sheriff's office electronically for service on the abuser. Currently, orders entered in ECCDV are only accessible by members of the sheriff's office in that county, and do not electronically cross county lines. Utilizing these grant funds, the ECCDV system will be integrated with North Carolina's warrant repository system, NCAWARE, which will allow for real-time review of domestic violence protective orders by all members of law enforcement statewide.
Additionally, the system will be implemented in an additional 13 counties. A list of target counties was identified for expansion based on criteria including high filing rates for domestic violence protective orders, crime rates, underserved populations, and geographical challenges that provide additional barriers when attempting to access justice. Counties planned for implementation:
- Year 1 - Davidson, Durham
- Year 2 - Cumberland, Forsyth, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Robeson
- Year 3 - Buncombe, Haywood, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt
In 2013, North Carolina ranked 20th in the country for domestic violence homicides with 55, or 1.09 deaths per 100,000 females. In 2013, the N.C. Attorney General's office reported 108 domestic violence homicides, of which 62 were females. In 2015, the N.C. Council for Women reported 110,319 calls for service upon statewide domestic violence service providers by victims. Also in the same time period, N.C. district courts reported 31,172 applications for permanent domestic violence protective orders and 29,483 assault on a female and assault by strangulation charges filed statewide.
ECCDV follows in the Judicial Branch's vision for eCourts and modernizing court technology systems statewide. The system has already won several prestigious awards including the 2014 Government Innovation Award and the 2014 GCN Award. For more information, contact Stephanie Satkowiak, domestic violence court specialist at 919-890-1210.
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October has also been proclaimed as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, "calling on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need."
|Publish Date: 10/24/2016|