Calgary's Specialized Domestic Violence Court: An Evaluation of a Unique Model


  • Leslie M. Tutty
  • Jennifer Koshan



Specialized domestic violence courts are a recentinnovation in the justice system’s response to domestic violence, with the objective of more effectively addressing domestic violence by jointly holding offenders more accountable and improving safety for victims. Calgary’s court, developed in 2001, began as a unique model focusing on DV specialization in the docket court, speeding entry into the justice system,and treatment for low risk offenders. In 2005, DV specialization was expanded to the trial court. This article presents data on over 6,407 cases from a ten-year period, 1998 to 2008, capturing the development of the model over the years from baseline, specialized docket to specialized trial courts. The results cover the characteristics of the accused and victims, criminal history, and court outcomes. It also presents a summary of the results of interviews with justice and community stakeholders and men mandated totreatment. Implications for the justice system and for jurisdictions considering developing a specialized DV court approach are presented.