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Special Court For Domestic Violence Would Work With Repeat Offenders

Sehvilla Mann

Kalamazoo County has a plan for reducing domestic violence. It’s working toward launching a “Trauma Court” for repeat offenders that would seek to change their behavior, not just punish it.

Modeled after drug courts that offer help with addiction, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting says Trauma Court would work with individuals who have witnessed or experienced violence in the past, who are now abusing their partners.

The Court would “Identify what their underlying problems are that are bringing them into conflict with the system, that are allowing them to continue to engage in these unacceptable behaviors,” Getting told reporters at a press conference Monday.

“The Trauma Court approach asks ‘What is causing the offender to offend? What happened in his or her life that is resulting in the offending behavior? What is this person’s specific issue?’ and ‘What can be done to address this person’s specific problem?’” defense lawyer Sarissa Montague said.

Getting says planning for a special domestic violence court is still in progress. The county and the Kalamazoo YWCA are also getting $10,000 grants for domestic violence prevention from the non-profit AllState Foundation.

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