In May 2000, HomeFront worked in coordination with various partners to establish the Specialized Domestic Violence Court in Calgary. This Court was born out of the need to recognize the unique characteristics of domestic violence, and emphasize the importance of early intervention to increase victim safety and allow for a greater chance of offender rehabilitation.
Due to its treatment-based nature, the Court works to identify underlying causes of violence and address them in order to break the cycle of violence at its roots, ultimately preventing re-offences and individuals cycling through the Court system. Through data, we know that this model works – 83% of first-time offenders do not reoffend three years post intervention.
Every effort is made to ensure that all cases of domestic violence in Calgary appear first in this Court. The Court uses a team of experts (specialized Crown Prosecutors, Domestic Conflict Unit Police Officers, Probation Officers, Legal Aid Duty Counsel and Domestic Court Case Workers) in order to ensure appropriate and efficient responses to domestic violence incidents.
One fundamental intent of the Specialized Domestic Violence Court is to provide an opportunity for early case resolution. Early case resolution refers to the ability of the Court to avoid lengthy delays, set Court dates as quickly as possible and to facilitate rapid referral of eligible offenders to intensive domestic violence treatment programs.
HomeFront remains a core partner in the Specialized Domestic Violence Court and represents the voice of the victim in Court, relaying interests and wishes to the Court for consideration.