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Specialist Domestic Violence Courts (SDVC)

The specialist courts have been set up to ensure domestic violence cases are  dealt with by people who are aware of the special issues relevant to such cases.  Magistrates and legal advisors will have had specific training and cases will be presented by prosecutors who are well-versed in such matters. The specialist courts also enhance the provision of victim/witness services, so that victims receive independent support while their cases proceed.  The county has a SDVC Steering Group, a multi agency SDVC protocol and four accredited courts in Workington, Barrow, Kendal and Carlisle.  779 cases were heard in the SDVC's in 20010/11, 79% of cases had a successful conviction compared to the national figure of 72.6%.

Victims of domestic violence will be supported through the court service by an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor and Victim Support's Witness Service can provide the following support to victims:

someone to talk to confidentially, about the trial

information about what to expect in court, including a chance to see the court beforehand and learn about court procedures

a quiet place to wait before giving evidence 

someone to go with you into the courtroom if you want, to help you feel more at-ease 

practical help (for example with claiming your expenses)

easier access to people, such as court staff, who can answer specific questions about the case

a chance to talk over the case when it has ended and to get more help or information.

Like the rest of Victim Support, the Witness Service is free and independent of the police or courts.
Victim Supports witness services can be contacted through the  Victim Care Unit on 0300 30 31 979

For more information around the criminal justice response to tackling domestic violence please contact he DV Business Manager.