A recent story came out about how Kansas City Municipal Court has a specialty docket for domestic violence (DV) offenders to lower the amount of repeat offenders, what the legal system refers to as recidivism. KC Muni has several dockets (mental health court and drug court) aimed at helping with recidivism and statistics have shown they work.
As an attorney, I have been on both sides in municipal, as part of the prosecuting team and as a defense attorney, helping people struggling with their legal issues. This docket--and Kansas City Municipal Court in general--is trying to help keep people out of court while helping victims. They have been using mental health and drug court dockets with success, as well. As a criminal defense and family law attorney, I frequently am helping families with a municipal court DV issue and their custody case across the street. That does not mean I only represent DV offenders. I also help the victims. DV is a problem and the solution is not binary. Often victims and offenders have children together and with some time, treatment and therapy, and personal care for both parties, the parents often are able to work things out in the best interests of the children. Being an offender doesn’t mark you for life as unfit, but you do have to work harder because the victim and the children need to feel safe and loved, not scared and anxious.