Even after decades of success in the domestic violence movement's development of appropriate, sensitive services, policy and legislative advances, myths about domestic violence and victim blaming persist, impacting the effectiveness of the criminal justice and civil legal systems' response to victims and survivors. Expert testimony is increasingly being used to address lingering misconceptions about domestic violence, shedding light on what remains a complex and deep-seated social problem. Research and experience indicate that domestic violence advocates can be successful expert witnesses and that they can effectively challenge the common myths that courts and other systems hold about domestic violence.
Domestic violence advocates can provide pertinent and compelling information during court proceedings that describe the prevalence and magnitude of domestic violence, explain the nature and dynamics of domestic violence, and shed light on the social and cultural context of abuse. Advocates can also paint a compelling picture of the consequences and effects of abuse on people who have been victimized, their children, and the family system as a whole. They can also successfully explain the commonly misunderstood survival strategies that victims and survivors employ to increase their safety and that of their children.
Building on training initially provided to membership in December 2013 by state and national experts, NYSCADV has launched a project that supports the use of domestic violence expert witnesses across the state. We have been working to grow and cultivate a network of advocates to serve as experts in domestic violence court proceedings. NYSCADV will continue to support this burgeoning community of practice with ongoing training and technical assistance. We will be launching a listserv for the dissemination of relevant information. The listserv will also provide a forum for members to utilize and offer support, and to share successes, challenges and lessons learned. NYSCADV will also compile research and talking points to use in the provision of expert witness testimony and the preparation of reports.
For more information about the project or for expert testimony related support, please contact Lorien Castelle at email@example.com or by calling 585-413-0887.