- Mesa now has a Domestic Violence Court to provide a collaborative approach to promoting victim safety and reducing recidivism. The new court will have a specific judge, prosecutor, probation monitoring officer and program assistant to ensure coordination and continuity in domestic violence case management. Mesa's integrative process aims to improve victim advocacy and safety while allowing for better implementation and consistency of the judicial process. Police, public defenders, victim advocates and counseling providers are all key partners with the new court.
"Domestic abuse is a public health and safety issue that requires a community response. Our main objective with the new Domestic Violence Court is to change a domestic abuser's behavior by focusing on accountability. We also will ensure that the victims' voices are heard throughout the court process," said John Tatz, Presiding Magistrate of Mesa Municipal Court.
A 2018 report from the National Center for State Courts finds counseling alone is ineffective in reducing recidivism and promoting public safety. Instead, counseling is more effective as part of a coordinated community response, including a domestic violence docket to increase accountability and reduce risk for victims. The report also recommended specialized probation units to provide enhanced contact with victims and convicted persons.
"Domestic Violence Court will serve our community through increased accountability and closer supervision for domestic violence offenders. Victims of domestic violence will have a strong voice and opportunities for input in both the pre-conviction and post-conviction process," said Paul Hawkins, Mesa City Prosecutor. "Our goal is to help everyone involved - the victim, the defendant, and the community - by ensuring safety for victims and ultimately changing the behavior of offenders."
Mesa City Council approved creation of the Domestic Violence Court earlier this year.
"I'm proud of Mesa's specialty court programs, and the efforts of our staff to find effective ways of working with complex issues, like homelessness and domestic violence," said Mayor John Giles. "The addition of the Domestic Violence Court has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of many, disrupting an often-repetitive cycle and advocating for victim safety and well-being."
For information and resources about domestic violence, visithttps://www.mesaaz.gov/government/city-attorney/city-prosecutor-s-office/domestic-violence-awareness#!/.