The Face of Justice: The Judge’s Role in Ending Domestic Violence

Vol. 53 No. 2

Laurie L. Baughman is senior attorney with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Every day, news headlines assail us:

“Police: Dad Kills Self, Son”1

“1 in 3 Women Victim of Domestic Abuse: Studies Look at Problem Worldwide”2

“Woman Plays Dead After Beating to Save Her Life.”3

“Man Arrested, Accused of Kidnapping, Beating OKC Woman”4

“Woman Fatally Struck by Semi After Being Kidnapped, Stabbed by Ex-boyfriend”5

For judges, these headlines are just the beginning. As they take the bench each day, judicial caseloads further unveil the horror of domestic violence. In criminal courts, judges hear assault, stalking, and homicide cases; in civil courts, judges tackle protection order, child custody, support, and divorce cases where abuse is alleged.

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