Domestic Violence Summit 2010-Hotel Monteleone
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans
November 30 - December 1, 2010


Survey Highlights

Use of Violence Against Women Act STOP Funds for Courts:
Follow-up to the
2010 National Leadership Summit on State Court Responses to Domestic Violence


In June 2012, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) surveyed state court administrators to determine how Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) STOP funds are allocated and used by courts.  Two previous surveys had been done in 2003 and 2008. The 2012 survey provided updates to those findings and also served as a follow-up to assess the impact of the National Leadership Summit on State Court Responses to Domestic Violence held in 2010.  Under the STOP block grant program, each state and territory must allocate at least five percent of the state STOP monies to court-based programs or initiatives.  The survey report reflects survey responses from state court administrators from 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. 

The entire 2012 survey report is available here. Four key findings are highlighted below.

Nine out of ten states report having a domestic violence point of contact at the administrative office of the courts (AOC).
The vast majority of respondents (40 of 45; 89%) indicated that they have a designated point person in the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) on family violence issues. This is a substantial increase from reports in similar surveys conducted in 2003 and 2008 when 70 percent and 71 percent of responding states, respectively, had a point of contact. Seven respondents reported that their point of contact at the AOC was an outgrowth of the National Leadership Summit.

About half of the responding AOCs reported receiving the five percent set-aside for the courts.
While nearly all states and territories have a designated point of contact, only twenty-four of the forty-five respondents (53%) verified that the courts are receiving the five percent set-aside. This proportion is lower than in previous years, when 63 percent and 65 percent of state courts reported receiving the set-aside. The reduction could be related to the relatively large proportion of state AOC's (29%) that do not have a defined role in the STOP grant distribution process.

Summit attendees reported increased coordination with their STOP administering agencies, as well as other benefits of the Summit.
Thirty-one responding states sent representatives to the Summit in 2010. Nearly all of these states reported that the Summit had made a difference in some way. The most commonly cited benefits of the Summit include improved communication between the STOP grant administering agency and the AOC point of contact, valuable networking with other state POCs, improved understanding of how STOP funds can be used, and development of a strategic plan for moving forward. All ten states that reported improved coordination with their administering agency in the past two years had attended the Summit.

Judicial and court staff training are the most common usage of STOP funds and the areas in greatest need of technical assistance.
STOP funds were used for training for judges and judicial officials in 73 percent of responding states.  Other common uses of STOP funds included training for court staff, developing judicial resource guides, and supporting problem-solving courts or dockets. The greatest needs in the area of technical assistance were in training for judges and judicial officials, training for court staff, supporting programs for offenders, understanding the requirements for using STOP funds, and learning about other states' best practices. 

This project was supported by Grant No. 2009-TA-AX-K017 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.