UMKC Law Review


The Kansas City Municipal Domestic Violence Court identifies cases as domestic violence if they involve intimate partner violence, violations of protective order, interfamily violence, or cases where there is a child witness. This court manages a large caseload of domestic violence violations that vary widely in the severity of the charges and the levels of violence.

The Kansas City Municipal Domestic Violence Court has prioritized their probation resources by focusing services on those cases that are most in need of supervision and on those cases most likely to be receptive to services. This article will discuss The Compliance Docket and The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Docket, two domestic violence specialty courts designed to reduce recidivism and provide participants with efficient, integrated treatment across the legal and treatment community.

Trauma is rooted so deeply that violence is often the first response to every conflict in the lives of the offenders who end up in Kansas City's Domestic Violence Court. Historically, the resolution for domestic violence offenders was handled under a “one-size-fits-all” approach, with offenders sent to jail for domestic violence related crimes and given no options to change their lives or address their trauma. Kansas City's Domestic Violence Court team has committed to utilizing its specialty courts to engage offenders and treat underlying issues and trauma as a way to reduce recidivism rates, protect survivors from further domestic violence incidents, and stop the cycle of domestic violence.

The Kansas City Municipal Domestic Violence Team hopes other jurisdictions will take note of the successes of its specialty courts and be encouraged to move towards a more holistic, well-rounded approach to addressing domestic violence offenders and offenses.