Chapter III

Intake/Crisis/Investigative Unit

Department of Human Services, East Hawaii, Hawaii(1)


The East Hawaii branch of the Family and Adult Services Division (which includes child protective services) of the Department of Human Services in the state of Hawaii serves the eastern half of the county of Hawaii. Hawaii County covers the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island because it is the largest of the state's islands. East Hawaii includes the small city of Hilo (population just under 40,000) as well as outlying rural areas. Though small by national standards, Hilo is the largest city on the Big Island and is the second largest city in the state next to Honolulu (which is located on the island of Oahu).

The residents of Hawaii County include a diverse and complex mix of ethnicities, races, and cultures. Seventy percent of the population of Hilo is Asian or Pacific Islander, 27 percent is white, and 8 percent is Hispanic. The county at large has a higher proportion of whites (40 percent) and lower proportion of Asian and Pacific Islanders (57 percent). In addition to the Native Hawaiians, who have been on the islands for many centuries, the Asian and Pacific Islander population includes many cultures such as Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Samoan. Native Hawaiians are disproportionately poor relative to the rest of the population. Many of the whites have migrated to the island from the mainland United States and settled in the rural areas on the southeast side of the island near the town of Pahoa. In this area, developers are subdividing large tracts of land and selling plots that often lack running water and electricity. Residents of these subdivisions are both poor and middle income, and their homes range from makeshift shacks to large houses. The dirt roads and lack of addresses greatly complicate the work of the Child Protection Services, police, the courts, and other service providers in the community. Reaching them for home visits can be very difficult and making contact by mail or telephone impossible.

The County of Hawaii bears a disproportionately high share of the social, health, and mental health problems in the state. The county has the highest rate of confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect and the highest rate of births to mothers age 15 to 17. In 1993, 40 percent of the 2,118 births in the county were nonmarital, the highest rate in the state. The county also has the lowest per capita income ($13,169) and the highest rate of unemployment (4.6 percent).(2) In 1995, the number of temporary restraining orders against perpetrators of domestic violence was up 5 percent from 1994, and is almost three times the rate found on the island of Oahu. Total cases in family court were up 8 percent from 1994.

Increasing levels of distress in the community are coinciding with severe cuts in state funding. The number of confirmed abuse and neglect cases increased by 20 percent in the past year, while the same number of workers have fewer service providers to call upon. Most of the community's social service agencies, including private providers, enjoy good relations and open communication, but all agencies and organizations are constrained and many are overwhelmed by the workload in relation to state budget cuts. The county has lost over $3 million in human service contracts in the last year alone.

Brief Overview of Child Welfare Services

The child protective services (CPS) system in Hawaii is administered by the state office in Oahu. The island of Hawaii is broken into two service districts, East Hawaii and West Hawaii. While West Hawaii has several subunits, all of East Hawaii is run out of Hilo. The East Hawaii CPS includes one intake and investigation unit, two case management units, and one foster care and licensing unit. The East Intake/Crisis/Investigative (EICI) unit has one supervisor, five investigators, one intake worker, and two case aides. The case management units each contain one supervisor, six case managers, and three or four case aides.

In 1995, EICI received 1,053 calls and investigated 515 of the reports. Of the 402 cases confirmed as abuse or neglect, EICI registered 188 as new cases, reopened 139 closed cases with new intake information, and added intake information to 74 existing open cases. Hawaii state law allows CPS to take protective custody if a child is being physically or psychologically harmed due to abuse or neglect, or is at risk of such injury. While each branch has free rein to accept cases at all levels of risk within this framework, due to increasing reports and caseloads the East Hawaii unit is unable to serve those who are at the less severe end of the spectrum. It was suggested that growing caseloads are due to both an increased awareness of the issue of child abuse and neglect and more stringent reporting laws, as well as an increase in the use of crystal methamphetamine and a resurgence in the use of heroin. One worker stated that several years ago, the unit would receive a report of only one baby per month who was born with drugs in its system. Now they investigate an average of one per week. The use of crystal methamphetamine is particularly problematic for CPS because its users become tense and often violent when they come down. In general, the severity of injury and abuse has been increasing among the families CPS serves. Finally, CPS workers in East Hawaii cover a large geographical area, including many rural communities. Investigators drive a minimum of 30 or 40 miles a day, and 100 miles in a day is not uncommon.

At least 95 percent of cases that are transferred into the case management unit are under the jurisdiction of the court and fall into either Family Supervision, where children remain in the home, or Foster Custody. Families in both types of cases are required to follow a service plan. Case managers carry caseloads of approximately 22 families each. Of these, the supervisor believed that, on average, five families had domestic violence as their primary reason for referral, and another five as their secondary issue.

Child Welfare Agency Approach to Domestic Violence

The primary linkage between child protection services and domestic violence exists through the criminal justice system. Child welfare workers have access to the criminal histories of the perpetrators of abuse and to a list of all active temporary restraining orders (TROs). The family court judge oversees child abuse and neglect cases as well as petitions for TROs. The judge has access to all former and current criminal and civil family court case records involving the perpetrator and other family members. The judge actively questions TRO petitioners about the well-being and whereabouts of their children, and if the children appear to be (or have been) in danger, he refers the case to CPS. CPS workers often attend the afternoon TRO hearings to report back to the judge regarding cases he has referred to them. CPS often assumes cases referred to it by the judge, suggesting that he screens them well.

Judges in Hawaii are able to combine all family cases into one family court. In Maui, for example, all family cases--including criminal and civil cases, divorce proceedings, child protection, and juvenile justice--are seen in the same court. In East Hawaii, all family cases other than criminal cases are seen by the family court.(3) One full-time judge oversees the family court with the help of one part-time judge. When the full-time judge was appointed in 1989, he created a third family court in the state and appropriated all divorce, temporary restraining orders, juvenile justice, and child protection cases. All civil and criminal non-familial cases and criminal family cases are seen in the district court. Only a small portion of family cases involve criminal proceedings including sex abuse, physical abuse, and domestic violence. The judge would like to include criminal family cases but is unable to do so because of his caseload. If the family court expands to two full-time judges as expected in the future, the court will begin to hear the criminal cases as well.

The family court judge routinely tries to gather as much information as possible about the families he will see in court. His staff check the court files and pull up all cases in which the perpetrator and/or family have been involved. When a family is active in several different types of judicial proceedings within his court, the judge may hold the hearings back to back (or simultaneously); this is not only convenient for the parties involved, but allows for maximum consistency in rulings. Since many probation office staff are housed in the same building as the family court, and CPS staff familiar with the family are often at court for other cases, the judge calls on these individuals during hearings. This system allows for more flexibility and ensures that families will receive a consistent message with coordinated orders. While all of the judges have easy access to all case records involving a particular party, only the family court judge routinely reviews the former cases of a particular family or perpetrator. This judge considers himself to be making very critical decisions in these families' lives, and therefore acknowledges a need for as much information as possible.

The family court judge reviews all petitions for TROs on Tuesday mornings. The application that a victim must complete in order to petition for a TRO includes questions pertaining to any threat or actions taken to harm her children. A TRO can also be requested on behalf of a child. The judge reviews the application and questions both parties in court about the existence of children, their whereabouts during the particular incident, and their general safety. Because the judge is aware of the overload of cases within CPS, he acts as a screener to determine the level of safety of the children. In 1995, he referred just over 6 percent of his TRO cases to CPS. Generally, the judge refers to CPS only those cases where a child has been hurt or is at serious risk of harm by his/her parents' fighting, or if the child is very young, has been active to CPS previously, or has been exposed to continual domestic abuse. If a child appears to be in danger, he requires that CPS staff submit a report or appear in court at the TRO follow-up hearing to recommend whether the court should obtain jurisdiction over the child. These return hearings on civil protection orders, which are held regardless of CPS involvement, are essential to obtain the perpetrator's cooperation. Any violations of TROs, however, are sent to the district court.

When the intake/investigative unit receives an allegation of child abuse, through the judge's TRO calendar or any other source, the investigator accesses the criminal history (reflecting both arrests and convictions) of the alleged perpetrator through the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center. In 1995, EICI requested criminal histories on all new cases accepted into the unit--roughly half of all intakes that were investigated. This compares with an overall state rate of request for criminal histories of 17 percent of all investigations. One worker thought that almost half of her cases involved at least one parent with a criminal record. The criminal history provides a picture of the family environment--how often the perpetrator has been in prison and for how long, whether a perpetrator has been violent in the past and to whom, whether the violence is escalating or shows other patterns, whether drugs are a major problem in the household, and whether the perpetrator is on probation. In addition, a list of the names of both petitioners and respondents for every active TRO is reviewed. If a TRO exists, the intake worker notes the presence of the TRO (and the court case number) on the file, and the investigation worker assigned to the case later accesses police reports and court records related to the TRO.

The intake desk also checks the state CPS system to find out about previous state involvement with the family, and checks the Hawaii Automated Inquiry System to determine whether a family receives AFDC. The state CPS data system allows the EICI unit to input the name of the perpetrator to find out whether he (or she) has been involved in CPS cases with other families. When a child abuse report is made, the intake worker checks the names of all persons involved in the case.

CPS investigation workers are given much freedom in how they carry out their initial visit. How they address domestic violence, therefore, varies across workers. At least one worker always spoke with the children separately in order to gain a broader picture. Whether she spoke with the mother separately from the father depended on the situation. If the perpetrator remained in the home and there was concern for the child's safety, the child would be removed. The workers considered witnessing domestic violence a serious issue and very harmful for the children involved. However, investigators lacked specialized protocols or procedures for routinely screening for abuse between the parents.

The CPS workers we spoke with were aware of and concerned about domestic violence as an issue that needed to be addressed in order to ensure the safety of the child. However, it was not clear how well that translated into also making the safety of the mother a priority. In part, this translation was hampered by a lack of tools to use in aiding mothers directly, and a lack of broader community services for CPS workers to draw upon. If the domestic violence was so severe as to place the children in danger, the workers explicitly informed the mother that if she did not leave the batterer, she risked losing her children. One client with whom we spoke stated that the choice between her partner and her children was given to her and that CPS supported and encouraged her to choose her children. The intake supervisor acknowledged that the obligation to protect the mother was not as great once the children had been removed. If it is safe for the children to remain in the home, however, they monitor the situation. They noted that the mother does not leave her partner (or even if she leaves, she returns or enters into another equally unhealthy relationship) at least 80 percent of the time.

The case managers have devised ways to help mothers leave their batterers by identifying a safe haven, making contingency plans, developing self-esteem, breaking dependency, and getting the mother into school. Case managers also draw upon what is usually a large extended maternal family as a resource to help support a victim of domestic violence.

The case managers were very concerned about the lack of services in the community to serve both perpetrators and (child and adult) victims of domestic violence. Alternatives to Violence was, until recently, the only program offering treatment services. Another program had recently been established, but had not yet developed many links with CPS. Unfortunately, there are few private therapists experienced in the issues of domestic violence to draw upon. An additional problem is that many of the psychologists who do work on the island are very reluctant to accept CPS clients because Medicaid reimbursement rates are very low.

Some native Hawaiian families request a form of traditional Hawaiian therapy known as Ho'oponopono ("to make things right"). While CPS allows families to receive Ho'oponopono, supervisors also include Alternatives to Violence in the service plan because they do not feel that Ho'oponopono alone successfully addresses abuse issues. Several service providers explained that Ho'oponopono was an acceptable supplement to--not substitute for--standard treatment approaches. Ho'oponopono involves working with the entire family together, which is often not appropriate for families affected by domestic violence.

Domestic violence is only one of many issues confronting case managers and families. Many parents must cope with substance abuse problems. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of CPS cases involve drugs, especially crack cocaine or crystal methamphetamine. Substance abuse problems also contribute to many control issues over money. Addicted fathers often beat a child's mother in an effort to get her welfare money. Some case managers said they tried to work through the substance abuse issue prior to resolving the domestic violence.

In the past two years, the Department of Human Services in Oahu sponsored two day-long domestic violence training sessions for their East Hawaii Branch staff. This training was mandatory for all line workers but not their supervisors, though several attended. Each of the two training sessions was delivered by an Oahu-based organization--one by the Family Peace Center and the other by the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse. A third domestic violence training (sponsored by Hilo's Domestic Violence Interagency Taskforce) was held in spring 1996. All Intake Unit staff and several case workers from other units attended the day-long session devoted to coordinated community efforts to prevent family and domestic violence. One supervisor explained that it was expected that workers would approach their work differently as a result of these training sessions, but she was unsure that they actually did. She also noted that no agency-wide policy changes grew out of these training sessions.

A primary benefit of the link between CPS and the justice system is that decisions about families made by CPS workers and the judge are based on greater knowledge about the family's situation. Furthermore, the greater the communication between the various agencies and players, the more difficult it is for the perpetrator to manipulate the system. It is also hoped that families with children at risk or harmed because of domestic violence are being seen by CPS earlier and/or more often because the judge questions parents about children during the TRO hearings. The primary disadvantage of this approach is that it has not been able to foster the development of adequate treatment and follow-up services, a key part of helping families and children once they have been identified.

Perspectives of Other Community Service Agencies and Organizations

Hilo has an ongoing and active Domestic Violence Interagency Taskforce (DVIAT) that has been meeting every month or so since 1994. Prior to this most recent effort, other interagency groups met on and off over the preceding decade. The ongoing work of these groups has allowed for open communication lines and positive relations to be built within the domestic violence community. The taskforce includes Child Protection Services, Alternatives to Violence (see below), the crisis shelter, the prosecutor's office, law enforcement, adult probation, the Children's Advocacy Center, family court, district court, the local medical center, and private therapists. Most recently, the taskforce has focused on legal procedures, education and public awareness, and prevention activities.

Overall, the community displayed a widespread desire to cooperate and work together to help children affected by domestic violence. Unfortunately, services--particularly for children--are extremely limited. For example, there are no support groups for children who have witnessed domestic violence. Also, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, and the medical community are noticeably absent from community coordination efforts. Nonetheless, it appeared that at the individual level of service delivery, some cooperation with these agencies did occur.

Alternatives to Violence

Alternatives to Violence (ATV) is the main program providing batterer intervention services and support groups for battered women. ATV also provides women applying for a restraining order with an advocate to help them through the application and court process. Over the last two years, ATV has changed directorship and is recovering from a recent period of mismanagement. It lost many of its resources but is slowly building them back up. Within the last six months, ATV started a new batterer intervention program but it is not well-known or widely used by CPS workers or others with whom we spoke.

Approximately 95 percent of the participants in ATV's batterer intervention program were court mandated. The counselors let the prosecutors, CPS, and probation know when a client misses several weeks in a row. As part of its program, ATV conducts a monthly check with the female partner to ensure that she is safe and to determine whether her partner is continuing threats or violence or has begun to change his attitude and behavior. If he has acted out, the counselor raises this within group session (directly if the woman believes it is safe or indirectly through role playing). If a violation of a TRO has occurred, ATV staff encourage her to report it. If it is apparent that children are in danger, the ATV workers, being mandated reporters, will encourage the woman to self-report to CPS and will do so themselves if she does not.

Over half of the women in the domestic violence support groups are court mandated, primarily through family court. ATV has mixed feelings about this policy--they feel it revictimizes women, but understand that some of them need to be compelled into treatment and that often abusive men may not allow their partners to attend unless it is required. For those families active with CPS, the frequency of communication between ATV and CPS depends a great deal on the particular CPS worker.

ATV feels that it has a positive relationship with CPS that is stronger now that CPS staff are taking domestic violence more seriously. Women were often blamed, regardless of the existence of spousal abuse, prior to the increase in education and awareness among child welfare workers. However, ATV disagrees with CPS about the extent to which their goal should be keeping the family together. While ATV has not trained CPS workers, it has conducted in-service training for a private family support service agency that serves CPS families.

Hale 'Ohana

The Hale 'Ohana Crisis Shelter has only been open since July 1995. The shelter is supported by the same government contract that for many years supported ATV's Family Crisis Shelter (ATV continues to run a shelter by the same name in West Hawaii). Within its first week of operation, the shelter's budget was cut by 30 percent and the shelter was immediately forced to let go of its domestic violence advocate, child behavior specialist, and volunteer recruitment coordinator. The shelter director believes that recent budget cuts have brought the community to a very critical point in its history, but the cuts have also caused community members to draw closer together.

The shelter works with CPS when they have a family in common. The relationship between the two is good, and many years earlier the shelter director worked as a case manager for CPS. She felt that CPS was doing what it could with limited staff, but that identifying domestic violence at earlier stages in their cases would be worthwhile.

Children's Advocacy Center

In 1986 the Hawaii State Legislature provided operating funds to establish the first Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) under the state judiciary. In 1989 funding was provided to establish similar centers statewide, and the East Hawaii CAC opened in November 1990. The CAC focuses on the needs of children who have been severely abused. In East Hawaii, the CAC spearheaded a widespread community effort to respond more effectively and sensitively to children who have been sexually abused. The center provides a child-friendly space for police and CPS staff to conduct joint, videotaped interviews so that child victims and witnesses do not have to be interrogated multiple times unnecessarily. The CAC coordinator also sets up multidisciplinary coordination meetings for children and families involved in both civil and criminal court proceedings.

The center is available for cases other than sexual abuse, and has begun to reach out more aggressively for physical abuse cases. The CAC coordinator is also an active member of the Domestic Violence Interagency Taskforce. While not actively involved with serving children primarily affected by domestic violence, the CAC director was certainly open to becoming more involved. CACs across the state had recently surveyed private providers to gather information about their areas of expertise (including domestic violence). Although the survey results were originally intended for distribution among the judiciary alone, the CAC director was very enthusiastic about sharing the information with CPS and others.

Prosecutor's Office

The Prosecutor's Office primarily coordinates with CPS on cases that involve severe physical or sexual abuse of a child. The staff we spoke with did not feel that many of their domestic violence cases involved CPS, but it was unclear whether they knew a family was active with CPS unless the child was the victim in the prosecution's case. However, they believed that it was always better to see the bigger picture, and that CPS might provide useful information even in domestic violence cases.

The Prosecutor's Office has a domestic violence interagency liaison who chairs the DVIAT meetings and who promotes training in all agencies by organizing and sharing information on training opportunities. For example, when Family Peace Center training staff came to the Big Island last year, the liaison managed to have them stay an extra day to provide training to additional community agencies such as CPS.

Law Enforcement

The East Hawaii police department does not have a separate domestic violence unit, although it has applied for funds to support this. One officer has received specialized training in domestic violence in order to train other members of the Hilo police department. New classes of recruits receive 16 hours of domestic violence training, and all officers receive about 4 hours a year of in-service training. The training is not mandatory for supervisors or captains.

Currently, the police operate under a pro-arrest policy, and the relevant state statute supports arrest if there are "reasonable grounds" for domestic violence--a standard of proof lower than "probable cause." Patrol officers responding to domestic violence calls do not focus on children, although they are supposed to check on their welfare and have been trained to do so. It was unclear to what degree officers actually do this. The police department is applying for a grant that would allow it to hire an in-house community service coordinator to respond to domestic violence calls and make appropriate referrals for the family.

The police department's juvenile aid section works closely with CPS on cases involving severe physical or sexual abuse of a child. The police detective conducts a joint investigation with CPS in order to respond to the situation faster, simplify the investigation, obtain better physical evidence, and lessen the trauma for child victims by reducing duplication. There did not seem to be an awareness on the part of the police department about whether any or many cases of physical or sexual abuse also involved domestic violence.(4)

Adult Probation

The Adult and Juvenile Probation Office sits in the same building as the family court. Different probation officers oversee offenders from family court, from district court for misdemeanors, and from district court for felony cases. A particular probationer may have several different probation officers, just as he or she may be involved in several different court cases. Because the probation officers sit together, they can share information about the offenders and pool resources. It is up to the probation officer to notify a judge if he or she is aware of conflicting orders in a different court case.

While most domestic violence cases should be handled in criminal family court, a large proportion of cases are plea bargained and switched to third degree assault to avoid a 48-hour mandatory jail term. This causes the case to be switched from criminal family court to district court. The district and family court criminal judges rarely ask about the children or CPS involvement. However, a judge can call for a pre-sentencing report for any felony, and does so for about half of domestic abuse cases. The pre-sentencing report contains information on the offender's social history, criminal record, prior offenses, defendant statement, police report, victim impact statement, medical, psychiatric, education and employment history, and current family composition and situation, including CPS involvement. Only if the judge requests this report will he learn information regarding other existing court orders or services pertaining to the family.

Again, the primary overlap with CPS appears to be for sex offenders. The probation officer who handles the majority of adult domestic violence cases for family court knew of only 6 cases (out of a caseload of 150) that were active within CPS. This probation officer primarily found out about CPS involvement because the family court judge pulled up the perpetrator's legal files and found that he was on probation. The judge then called the probation officer into court to try to work the service plan around probation's terms and conditions. This probation officer did not know whether a higher share of his cases actually overlapped with CPS. Probation officers were generally willing to monitor the CPS service plan as part of probation, once they were aware of the conditions and terms. There was little integration between the two agencies, however, largely because the majority of domestic violence offenses were convicted as misdemeanors and their probation officers cannot pay for any services. Only felony probation officers had funds to pay for services. Therefore, CPS feared that probation might piggyback on their service provision without providing much in return (including enforcement). Incarceration--a probation officer's principal stick--is rarely used for violations because of prison overcrowding.

Outcome and Evaluation Issues

The state-wide data system for CPS cases appeared to be quite comprehensive. CPS staff are readily able to track perpetrators across cases (in fact, they can access the CPS history of any family member). In theory, therefore, they are also able to track the subsequent CPS involvement of offenders who participated in various intervention services.

Although the CPS data system appears to be quite sophisticated, it does not electronically interface with any other program information systems (e.g., criminal history records or judicial record systems). Cross checks and overlaps with these other systems are done manually.


In general, Hilo is a community rich in commitment to domestic violence issues generally and to linking these to child welfare services, but poor in resources. Hilo has an active community-wide interagency domestic violence team, and awareness around domestic violence issues appears to be quite high. Among the community's biggest strengths is the willingness of various agencies to communicate and find new ways to collaborate. Like other small towns and rural communities, much of this communication derives from the smallness of the community and the ability of individuals to bridge bureaucratic distances through personal relationships and friendships. East Hawaii's CPS agency enjoys fairly good relationships with other agencies and organizations in the community, including the main battered women's services program. But the main linkage that strengthens this agency's ability to identify and serve families affected by domestic violence is its relationship with the judiciary.

Having a unified family court system can be a key feature in effectively serving families involved with violence and abuse. Within such a court system, all cases involving the members of a single family (protective orders, divorce and custody issues, criminal offenses, juvenile justice issues) are heard within the same court, strongly reducing the chances of the family facing conflicting orders that may jeopardize the safety of some of its members. The family court's caseload and staffing in East Hawaii require that all criminal family cases be deflected to a different court, so their court system is only semi-unified. This limited degree of unification may be a more realistic model for communities considering unifying family court cases.

One issue reflecting Hilo's experience is that while willingness on the part of CPS to acquire new knowledge and approaches for handling cases affected by domestic violence is very important, it is not sufficient to produce real change in standard case practice. CPS workers and their supervisors must have very specific tools and training around domestic violence in order to go about their work in new and creative ways. Effectively serving these families, however, requires the effort of many services and agencies beyond CPS. Treatment services in the community at large, especially for CPS children exposed to domestic violence, are very limited in Hilo. One interesting question is whether or not CPS should devote limited resources to identifying families affected by domestic violence in its caseload, if the treatment resources needed to help these families are so limited. Documenting need is certainly one important reason to do so. Better screening of domestic violence may also lead to cost savings in the long-run, if root problems are better addressed and recidivism reduced. This, in turn, may free funds up for more services.

Like Hilo, many communities across the country are experiencing severe budget cuts. Options for better serving CPS families affected by domestic violence should include some relatively low-cost choices. These might include soliciting a volunteer domestic violence expert to keep regularly scheduled hours at the local CPS office for case consultations. In communities with few private therapists able to treat children affected by domestic violence, CPS might want to encourage these professionals to offer group rather than individual sessions. Of course, sharing training and planning activities with other service providers in the community, as Hilo is doing, is also very important.

In summary, Hilo offers a number of interesting system features that other communities might want to consider: having a committed and knowledgeable judge regularly refer appropriate TRO cases to CPS; unifying some family cases within the same court; and encouraging multiple agencies and community service providers to coordinate training efforts and otherwise share limited resources. Furthermore, in addition to conducting a standard criminal history check on all incoming referrals, CPS's EICI unit cross-checks all adults in the household against a current list of active temporary restraining orders.


1. This site visit was conducted in March 1996.

2. Mental Health Association in Hawaii, Hawaii County Branch, "Survey of Social Indicators," January 1996; and Decennial Census of the United States, 1990.

3. For example, a child abuse case involving a family member (or non-family member who has access to the child in the family home, such as a boyfriend) would be seen in the family court and could also be seen in the criminal court if the case involved criminal prosecution for physical or sexual abuse. Domestic violence between a woman and her partner could be addressed in the family court if a TRO is requested or if divorce or custodial issues of children arise, as well as criminal court if the TRO is broken or if the case is prosecuted. Depending on the level of abuse, the criminal case may be tried as either a misdemeanor or a felony, but both are heard by one of two judges in the district court.

4. Some community agency and CPS contacts questioned whether the police (especially older officers) were committed to addressing domestic violence. Not enforcing TROs was a major problem: within the last year a woman who had a TRO was killed even though she called the police twice--once the day before and once an hour before her death--to report violations.

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