December 10, 2004
For the past 10 years I have heard all the Protective Order cases in Rutherford County , and for the past three years I have heard all the Domestic Assault criminal cases. During this time, the importance of intervention for perpetrators of domestic violence has become overwhelmingly evident. I have also come to realize not all programs provide the same level of intervention. The content and length of a program has a significant impact on the effect the intervention has on the offender. With this in mind, Tennessee ’s Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council has established a certification program for Batterer’s Intervention Programs. Rutherford County has made it a policy to use only certified programs when ordering intervention for domestic abuse cases. I would like to encourage every jurisdiction to adopt a similar policy.
One of the largest advantages of utilizing certified Batterer’s Intervention Programs is that certification increases consistency among the programs, and it ensures Domestic Violence offenders get the appropriate type and length of intervention needed. Another advantage to using only Certified Programs is it minimizes the occurrence of defendants “shopping” for the shortest or easiest program in the community.
State Coordinating Council certification offers many other advantages as well. It guarantees the program facilitators have a maximum amount of training and the training is current. The policies required by the State Coordinating Council also help to ensure victims are safer by requiring programs to refer victims to appropriate resources in the community. It provides the victim with education and alerts them to any threat of harm made by the abuser. Further, programs certified by the State Coordinating Council are encouraged to communicate with each other, with the courts, with shelters and with advocates to promote a coordinated community response to domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council has given the courts an excellent tool with which the judicial system can help stop domestic violence. Utilizing state certified programs guarantees a greater quality of intervention for perpetrators of Domestic Violence and ultimately a greater level of safety for domestic violence victims in our communities.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to working with you to make Tennessee a better place to live.
With Kindest Regards,
Judge Don R. Ash
Contact TCADSV at:
Toll-free in Tennessee:
Telephone: (615) 386-9406
Fax: (615) 383-2967
2 International Plaza Dr.
Nashville, TN 37217
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