The National Institute on the Prosecution of Domestic Violence

January 8 - 11, 2013

The National Institute on the Prosecution of Domestic Violence (NIPDV) explored the complex issues faced by prosecutors in balancing offender accountability and the impact of criminal prosecution on victims. In addition to practical case evaluation and trial advocacy skills, the curriculum addressed the development and improvement of culturally sensitive victim responses by prosecutors; examined the benefits of developing a coordinated community response; explained common injuries, relevant medical evidence and offered guidance on the use of medical experts; provided guidance in evidence-based prosecution methods with up-to-date Crawford analysis and recommended practices in responding to victim intimidation through innovative solutions and the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing; explored ethical issues confronted by prosecutors; and offered prosecutors the ability to redefine outcomes and the very nature of justice in domestic violence cases.

NIPDV used hypothetical case problems, role-playing exercises, small group discussions, mini-lectures, and faculty demonstrations. Participants employed hands-on case evaluation, preparation, and trial skills to understand domestic violence in the many contexts in which it occurs and examine their attitudes and practices. NIPDV's highly interactive format enabled prosecutors from different jurisdictions, with varied levels of experience, to learn from one another and engage in "real-life" activities and mock court proceedings that are readily transferable to their work. Prosecutors who have found strategies to overcome the unique challenges in handling domestic violence cases shared their success stories and techniques. Prosecutors left NIPDV with new ideas and methods for keeping victims and communities safe and holding offenders accountable.

The National Institute on the Prosecution of Domestic Violence (NIPDV) was hosted at the Courtyard Portland City Center in Portland Oregon. 54 prosecutors from across the country were in attendance, of which 8 were awarded scholarships to cover transportation and lodging expenses. Attendees qualified for approximately twenty (20) continuing legal education credit hours including at least one (1) hour of ethics credit. Participant comments from evaluations included:

  • “Thank You! Sometimes this field is so hard. It's easy to get frustrated and demoralized. These types of conferences are like oxygen.”
  • “I am definitely in a better position after this course to understand and recognize victim behavior - why they recant, etc. and understand how to better work with them throughout the process, as well as what approach to take. I also feel like I understand how all the "pieces" work together: service and community advocates, responding officers/SANE nurses, probation officers, experts, etc. and realize that I really had to utilize/rely on these resources more. All of the contributing speakers were excellent. I appreciate their instruction and knowledge. I also appreciate that you have several resources on the AEquitas website that can assist us in our practice. Thank you!”
  • “Great information - I really liked the small group discussion, nice to hear how others handle things.”

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