Safety for victims, accountability for abusers, those are the goals of a new domestic violence court beginning in Eaton County this week.
A single judge will hear all domestic abuse cases on Wednesdays on a fast-track to trial. The idea is to get cases prosecuted before victims back out of testifying and to give abusers plenty of time for treatment.
The court will follow up with convicts regularly, focusing on healing as well as punishment.
Advocates for abused women welcome the initiative.
"We would like to see domestic violence ended," says Nancy Oliver, Director of SIREN/Eaton Shelter. "That's our goal, but it's certainly been a centuries old problem and ending it any time soon is certainly helped by efforts like this."
The Eaton County Prosecutor's Office keeps track of requests for domestic violence arrest warrants. Those requests nearly doubled from 1999 to 2005.