The paper reviews the response of specialised domestic violence courts in Canada and the United States to contact disputes where there are allegations of domestic violence. It begins with a discussion of legal reforms responding to domestic violence in Canada and the United States, including the different types of DV courts and their rationales, key features, merits and drawbacks. Evaluations of Integrated DV courts in the United States and Canada are then reviewed. The research shows that although IDV courts hold more promise to deal with contact disputes given their inclusion of family law matters, there are few studies assessing the impact of IDV courts on these disputes, and some suggest these courts may actually increase contact and hence the potential for safety issues to arise. The final section discusses the strengths and weaknesses of IDV courts in relation to contact disputes, identifying the factors that make these specialised courts more or less successful in prioritising safety and minimising harm for women and children.
September 7, 2018